What does a Missions-minded Church look like?

Founded by American missionaries Marvin and Pat Matthews in 1974, Metropolitan Baptist Church has always valued missions.

Within a year of starting, the First Missions Conference was held and funds were committed to the Faith Promise Missions Program of the Church.

Our first Australian home missionaries were the Ringwaldt family, church planting in South Australia (September 1975), and the Pinero family, the first Australian foreign missionaries to New Caledonia (January 1984).

With God’s calling upon Tony Evans to the Japanese people, on January 18, 1992, the Evans family arrived in Japan. Suzuran Bible Baptist Church began in 1994. This ministry continues to this day through the faithful service of the Evans family.

Metropolitan Baptist Church has also sent out and currently supports Marco and Trini DeLeon (Hurstville), Lilia Eti (Ecuador), James and Cindy Herringson (Mauritius), and the Harvest Ministry of Exhortation.

The Missions program, and the list of missionaries we support, have continued to grow through the years with more funds now given to Missions than kept by the Church.

During that time members of the Church have been involved in Missions trips to Japan, Tanzania, Ecuador, Vanuatu, and Israel to offer practical support to our serving missionaries.

As we celebrate 50 years of missions at Metropolitan Baptist Church this June we give all glory to God for gathering together a Church family that takes the ‘Great Commission’ seriously.

“For we are labourers together with God:” 1 Corinthians 3:9a

How to pray for our Missionaries

•             Pray specifically for each family member that they will grow spiritually and impact their field.

•             Pray for spiritual strongholds to be broken down

•             Pray for souls to be saved & discipled

•             Pray for longevity and deliverance from discouragement

•             Pray for each family member’s physical health and well-being

•             Pray for the faithful giving of God’s people to enable the missionary to focus on the ministry’s needs.

How carrying pocket Bibles saved many ANZACs

During World War 1 many stories were recorded of Army-supplied New Testaments saving lives when bullets and pieces of shrapnel entered the Bible rather than a soldier’s heart.

This was due to the custom of soldiers of keeping their New Testaments in the left breast pocket of their four-pocket, khaki woolen tunics. Equally important was the 1.5 cm thickness and sturdy cloth-board binding.

At Gallipoli on 2 May 1915, Private Laban Chuter of the 13th Battalion was wounded in the chest, head, and legs but was saved because a bullet had punched into the pages of Scripture in his left breast pocket.

Five days later Robert Grant, a former Bible Society salesman, was wounded by an explosion. He wrote of the account to a friend “I was carrying [the Bible] in my left pocket and a piece of bomb struck it, and went halfway through it, leaving itself embedded in the paper.”

The story of young Lance-Corporal Elvas Jenkins, who was hit by a bullet on the shores of Gallipoli during the ill-fated 1915 campaign is often retold at this time of year. The bullet tore into his New Testament but was stopped by the gospel pages of the tiny bible.

On the Western Front, Private Charles Whatley was hit three times and saved by “my Bible stopping pieces of shrapnel from entering my body near the heart.”

In August 1916, Private Alf Findlow was taken prisoner along with four members of his section near Pozierès. All five were shot at point-blank range by a German officer and left for dead as German infantry advanced.

A Bible in Findlow’s pocket deflected the bullet aimed at his heart. Findlow treasured that Bible until he died in 1952.

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Why Christians should celebrate ANZAC day

Anzac Day holds a special place in the hearts of all Australians. It is a National day of commemoration, observed as a public holiday on April 25.

On Anzac Day, we pause to reflect, remember, and honour the brave men and women who have served our country in times of war and conflict.

It marks the anniversary of the day when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 as part of the Allies’ invasion during World War I.

Traditionally Australians gather for dawn services across the country. These solemn ceremonies pay tribute to the courage of those who served and commemorate their sacrifices.

And as Christians, it’s a day when we can proclaim the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour – the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Make no mistake Anzac Day services draw directly from our Christian heritage.

For instance, the words “Lest we Forget” from the refrain of “Recessional,” a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Kipling’s goal was to stress the danger of forgetting God, for when nations rise to wealth and power, they are inclined to forget their God.

Though the phrase is used on Anzac Day to commemorate those who have fallen in battle, we need to be mindful of the Scripture Kipling based his poem upon- that we do not forget the God from whom all blessings flow.

Deuteronomy 4:23a reads “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God.”

As we celebrate Anzac Day this year may the full weight and meaning of Mr Kipling’s poem cause us not to lose sight of what we are by the grace of God alone.

He is worthy of our remembrance. “Lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God.”

_Pastor Mario Schiavone

Jesus Christ’s Resurrection… Fact or Fiction?

An article by R Totten

Frank Morison was not a man you would find in church on Sunday. Philosophically, he was a skeptic.

A skeptic doubts that there is any good evidence for believing in something and Morison felt this way, especially toward Christianity. He didn’t believe it.

He was a well-educated man, a lawyer by profession. Morison had been greatly influenced by German skeptics, and by Oxford professor Matthew Arnold, and by Dr. Thomas Huxley all of whom openly denied the Bible was true or even that miracles were possible.

So, Morison set out to disprove the historic Christian belief that Jesus was raised from the dead, and he started to write a book about this.

But things didn’t turn out like he’d planned. He wrote in the book’s introduction about what a struggle it was for him to write, with the result that he ultimately changed his opinion.

Now, in comparing various religions, it is significant that (except for Jesus Christ) the founders of all the major world-religions are dead and buried.

Sidhartha Gautama (Buddha) died in 483 BC in Kapilvastu, India; and Mohammed (Ubu’l-Kassim) died in 632 AD in Medina, in the arms of his favourite wife Aisha. They remain dead today.

The list could go on, except when we come to Jesus of Nazareth, for whom there is a credible body of evidence which demonstrates that he resurrected from the dead, according to the prophetic predictions from his own mouth and from the Old Testament Scriptures.

Christ’s resurrection is a matter of historical record. And if that event cannot be sustained by historical data, then it should not be believed.

The validity of Christianity rests on its historical credentials, and not merely on blind faith.

Faith is not destroyed by having a good historical ground of evidence, rather, faith is destroyed by NOT having such a basis. Christianity is nothing without historical facts. Let’s look at the evidence for the resurrection.

1. The Certainty of Christ’s Death.
Now, if Jesus did NOT actually die on the cross before the time where people saw him raised, then there was no resurrection of Christ at that time because he hadn’t yet died. So, what’s the evidence for his death on the cross?

A. Professional Investigation.
Read John19:31-33 – These Roman soldiers were expert executioners who knew what death looked like. For them to let a criminal get through alive, would result in the executioner’s death for dereliction of duty. But they had insurance: John19:34 says that “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”

This piercing alone would have killed him. Physiologists explain the significance here of “blood and water” coming out: This results from the congealed red blood corpuscles separating from the watery serum.

Dr. Truman Davis, MD, explains that there was “an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that [Christ] died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium” (C.Truman Davis, “The Crucifixion of Jesus,” Arizona Medicine, March ’65).

The separated blood is undeniable evidence that death had already occurred at an earlier point in time, so the soldiers had confirmed that they were safe in declaring him dead. And John saw these events himself: Read Jn.19:35-37.

B. Other Close Eyewitnesses.
Consider what happened when others prepared the body for burial: Read John 19:38-40 – These were friends of Jesus. If there had been any sign of life, they would have made every effort to resuscitate him on the spot. But instead, they embalmed him, by putting 90 pounds of spices on the body, along with grave linens which were sewn together around it. Then his body was placed on a cold slab of stone in the tomb, which would kill anybody in severe shock from such physical trauma. He was dead. There can be no reasonable doubt.

2. Placed in a Tomb.
So, the body prepared for burial was taken to a tomb: Read Matthew 27:57-60. But this wasn’t good enough for the Jewish priests and Pharisees: Read Matthew 27:62-66. Therefore, the tomb was sealed with a “Roman seal,” (v.66) which could only be placed on the stone door in the presence of the Roman guards as eyewitnesses.

Such a seal consisted of a heavy cord passing across the stone at its widest part, and fastened at each end with sealing clay pressed into deep holes in the rock wall on either side —-and the two clay packs were stamped with the official signet of the Roman governor.

Anyone who dared to break that Roman seal would incur the wrath of the Roman government …capital punishment.

(Ref.: A Ready Defense, ’90, Josh McDowell, p.230)

The armed Roman guard unit was also there to ensure the security of the situation (because Jesus had predicted his resurrection). Such a guard unit consisted of about 12 (or up to 16) men who worked in squads of four, in rotating shifts that were four hours long.

If such an individual were to fall asleep while on duty, he would be executed. Such soldiers were the state-of-the-art fighting machine of that time, built into units that were trained to be able to defend their ground against an entire battalion of soldiers from any other army in the world.

3. The Fact of the Empty Tomb.
So, the body of Jesus was in the tomb on Friday, Saturday, and some of Sunday. Three days. But for the priests and Pharisees, something very disturbing happened: The tomb was empty on Sunday morning. The Roman seal was broken. They probably would have kept the seal and guards there for four or five days… BUT, “early on the first day of the week, [Sunday) the stone had been removed from the entrance” (John 20:1).

Now, these circular door-stones for covering such tomb doors were rolled on edge down an incline, and they would drop into place in front of the tomb door. It was not uncommon for such a stone to weigh one and a half to two tons.

So, “Who moved the stone?” Mary sure didn’t know: Read John.20:2 – She thought he was still dead; So did the men: Read verse 3 Why did they run so hard to the tomb? Because they thought maybe the body was stolen …they didn’t know by whom.

Who moved the Stone? That’s the question, and it’s also the name of Frank Morison’s book. Who moved it? Not the guards, for fear of the death penalty. The disciples? They were all scared to the core and each of them KNEW Jesus was dead anyway. They didn’t believe he would be raised from the dead, so, why would they risk their lives for a dead body?

Who moved the stone? Here’s the answer: Matthew 28:2-4 says, “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.”

So, where did the body go? If enemies of Jesus took the body, what could their motive have been? They knew Jesus had predicted his own resurrection in three days, so it would have been stupid to fulfill that prophecy for him. And if Jesus’ enemies did take the body, then why did they remain silent when the disciples’ started preaching about the resurrection of Jesus?

The Jewish and Roman authorities merely would have had to produce the body to destroy the story of Christ’s resurrection, but they had no body. And if Jesus’ friends took the body, how did they get by professional guards who had deadly force and superior numbers?

And it is not at all believable that all of these former disciples of Jesus would then die for the cause of Christ if it were all a lie if they were preaching about a man whom they knew to actually be dead. There’s only one intelligent option: Jesus rose from the dead by supernatural power. And he’s alive today!

4. The Appearances of Jesus.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb, as John.20:1 tells us. Then in Mt.28:8, we’re told he appeared to several women as they ran from the tomb, and they grabbed onto his feet as they fell in worship before him. You can’t grab a mirage.

Then, in Luke 24:13-32, he appeared to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. He walked along with them and talked at length, until they recognized him. This was no wishful illusion, because they didn’t even know who he was for a good portion of their time together.

Then Paul summarizes the other appearances of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, where he reports that Jesus appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve, and after that, he appeared to more than five hundred (500) eyewitnesses at the same time, most of whom were still alive at the time Paul wrote about it, so, people could (and undoubtedly did) go and personally confirm the facts with those people.

Finally, Jesus appeared personally to Paul himself. And this last appearance is significant, because Paul was a very tough guy, who hated Christ and the first Christians. He was not easily convinced.

5. The Start of the Early Church.
The Christian church was not born, nor does it now exist on the basis of Jesus’ life and teachings. Those first disciples knew they had seen the resurrected Messiah. Before his resurrection, they were SO intimidated and discouraged, they really did not believe there was going to be a resurrection.

But afterwards, their outlook was different. Their dramatic change of view demands an adequate explanation. All but one of the apostles died for their faith in the risen Christ.

Do you think they’d all die for a story they themselves made up, which was actually false? I wouldn’t. Do you think they would die for “a body” they stole out of the grave? No way. For sure, Thomas wouldn’t have done it, because he doubted and rejected all reports of Christ’s resurrection no matter what anybody said.

He said, “I will NOT believe unless I see for myself.” I’m sorry, I wouldn’t either. The existence of the very first Christians doesn’t make sense without the resurrection of Jesus in fact, it’s incomprehensible.

How about YOU?
Frank Morison started out as a skeptic, bound and determined to disprove the resurrection, but here’s how he concludes his book: “There may be, and, as the writer thinks, there certainly is, a deep and profoundly historical basis for that much disputed sentence in the Apostle’s Creed ‘The third day he rose again from the dead.’ ” (“Who Moved the Stone“, Frank Morison). And how about you? To die without trust in Christ who now lives as a result of his resurrection) is to face a hopeless eternity.

This issue really is that important. 1 Corinthians 15:14-17 “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

But Christ has been raised. So, now, if you have sincere faith and trust in Jesus (that he died for your sins and rose from the dead), you will be saved, so that you will have eternal life in him. —–You must make your choice, my friend …I pray you’ll receive Christ.

Reference Sources:
A Ready Defense, by Josh McDowell, San Bernadino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1990.
The Bible Has the Answer, by H.M. Morris, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1971.Who Moved The Stone by Frank Morison, Zondervan Publishing ISBN: 0-310-29561-0

Glorify God this Easter

Easter is the most important time of the year for any Christian. Easter brings glory to God through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is a time when all Australians pause from their busy schedules, and some will ask why do we have this break?

When this question comes up, take the opportunity to share the significance of Easter. Remember, it only comes once a year.

Explain to them that Easter means that God’s perfect plan of salvation has been provided.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Romans 5:8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

And that God was satisfied with the work of His Son.

1 Peter 3:18For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

Remember to point out that, to the believer, Easter brings the promise of everlasting life.

John 14:19b “…because I live, ye shall live also.”

John 5:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

And then challenge them to believe the claims of Jesus Christ.

John 11:25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”

Romans 10:9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Why not invite your enquiring friends and neighbours to our Easter services at Metropolitan Baptist Church on Good Friday or Easter Sunday?

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity for them to experience the priceless gift of salvation! _ Pastor Mario Schiavone

Why Sunday School matters

According to NSW State Library records, Thomas Hassall (1794-1868), the 19-year-old son of missionaries, established Australia’s first Sunday School in Parramatta in May 1813.

A small class of six or seven children, some of whom were the children of convicts, soon increased to more than 200 children, including 19 Aboriginal children. Hassall asked permission from Reverend Samuel Marsden to hold the Sunday School at St. John’s Church Parramatta.

Just three years later Hassall formalised the Sunday School movement in Australia to instruct children to “read the Holy Scriptures” and published the rules under the banner of “Fear God, Honor the King.”

By the mid-19th century, the largest Sunday School in Sydney catered for 1,750 children and had 300 teachers. At the worldwide celebrations to mark 100 years of the Sunday School movement over 10,000 children, representing 61 Sunday Schools marched with banners down Macquarie Street singing hymns.

Today, more than ever, our children need to experience the benefits of attending Sunday School at Church.

Sunday School provides an avenue to learn about God, the Holy Bible, and the reality of the Gospel message in a safe environment with children their age.

Your child will be instructed by Bible-believing teachers on how to pray, worship and serve God, and have their questions answered from the Scriptures.

Sunday School is held during morning services at Metropolitan Baptist Church during NSW Public School terms, allowing parents to enjoy the preaching in the main worship service.

Start the new year with a purpose that glorifies God by enrolling your child in Sunday School this Sunday. See you at 10.15 am. _ Pastor Schiavone

Richard Johnson – God’s man sent to Australia

 “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD’’ 

Psalms 116:12-13

This was the first passage of Scripture preached on Australian soil at 10am on Sunday, February 3, 1788.

The very first service ordered by Captain Arthur Philip was held under a great tree near Sydney harbour. “No man was to be absent on any account whatever,’’ decreed the captain. 

After a 36-week voyage, where all 11 ships were spared miraculously by God, this was a very fitting text indeed. 

From our Christian heritage viewpoint, it was critical that a man of God deliver the first message. That man was Reverend Richard Johnson.

In October 1786, Richard Johnson received a royal warrant as Chaplain to the colony of New South Wales.  When he arrived, Johnson brought to Australia 2,000 Bibles and other Christian books.

Johnson’s first flock comprised convicts (568 males, 191 females, 13 children), four companies of Marines and the Governor, Captain Philip.

“It is my duty to preach to all, to pray for all, and to admonish everyone,” he said.

By the end of 1788 his ministry extended with the growing colony to Rosehill, near Parramatta, where he visited monthly, then fortnightly by boat.

His ministry included visiting the sick, of which there were many. In the first five years he conducted 226 baptisms, 220 marriages and 851 funerals.

He also organised the establishment of a fund to care for orphans, especially after the Second Fleet arrived with hundreds having died en route and hundreds of others sick and dying on arrival.

Johnson also fulfilled the duty of a Magistrate, finding it a “most unthankful, troublesome office,’’ as he often had to officiate at hangings.

Using his own hands and his own money Johnson built a church in Macquarie Place Sydney, beginning in 1793, and completing it two years later despite intense opposition from the Rum Corps.

Three years after the first settlement, Johnson started Christian schooling for both convicts and free men. He established the first Schools in Sydney, Parramatta, and Norfolk Island.

By 1799 his schools, with three school masters, showed 526 children enlisted in Sydney, with 239 at Parramatta and 166 at Hawkesbury. 

Thus, early Australian education was initiated not by government legislation and funding, but by the Christian Church.

By the time Johnson left Australia in 1800, some 12 years after his arrival, a firm foundation for Australia’s Christian heritage had been established.

The God of all nations had a plan for Australia

On January 26, 1788, Australia was claimed by the British and the Union Jack raised under the authority of Governor Phillip. 

After a 36-week voyage, where all 11 ships were spared miraculously by God, the First Fleet brought the Word of God and the English form of Christian Government to the land down under. 

The Bible had arrived in the Asia Pacific region under the providential hand of God.

But have you ever wondered why Indonesia, or India or one of our other near neighbours did not claim Australia for their own? Why didn’t the Muslims colonise this land? After all they had been visiting our northern shores for hundreds of years before the Europeans came.

What about the Chinese? They were some of the great explorers and traders of their day, colonising most of South-East Asia. Maps from ancient China showed the north coast of Australia, yet they never tried to settle here.

The Hindus colonised Bali, which is only a few hundred kilometres from Australia. Why didn’t they sail on and claim Australia as well? 

Could it be that God had been preparing this land since time began? That He had chosen this nation as the launching pad for the Gospel into Asia, the Pacific, and the world.

After thousands of years the Holy Spirit delivered the Word of God to a part of the earth inhabited by almost two thirds of the world’s population.

Amid a virtual sea of Buddhist, Islamic, Taoist, and Hindu peoples, God was at work establishing a Christian democracy which He would use in these last days.

Remember, God makes no mistakes.

The discoveries of Captain James Cook in 1770, along with England’s need to find places for its convicts, led to great interest in a land then known as “New Holland.” 

During this time John Newton, the writer of the hymn Amazing Grace, and a group known as the Eclectic Society, began considering how they could further the cause of the Gospel at the Cook-named Botany Bay.

Newton wrote “A minister who should go to Botany Bay without a call from the Lord and without receiving from Him an apostolic spirit, the spirit of a missionary, enabling him to forsake all, to give up all, to put himself in the Lord’s hands, to sink or swim, had better run his head against a stone wall.”

Enlisting the help of anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament, Newton’s goal was to convince the new Prime Minister William Pitt to appoint the Gospel preaching Richard Johnson as Chaplain. 

As providence would have it, the man Newton approached for assistance just happened to be good friends with Pitt and their goal was achieved.

In October 1786, Richard Johnson received a royal warrant as Chaplain to the colony of New South Wales.  Thanks to Newton and the generosity of the Eclectic Society Johnson brought to Australia 2,000 Bibles and other Christian books.

Providentially Reverend Johnson was the first Chaplain of New South Wales and delivered the first message and challenge to the new colony. What a testimony of God’s grace.

Heritage is something of value that has been passed down from generation to generation!

As Christians we are to pass on the heritage of our faith. 

We must consider and cherish Australia’s Christian Heritage so we can:

  • a) earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3)
  • b) establish character, lives and families based upon Christian principles (Joshua 24:15)
  • c) teach the next generation so Australia’s Christian Heritage is preserved (1 Peter 2:9)
  • d) bring glory and honour to our great God (1 Timothy 1:17).

Celebrate our Christian Heritage on Australia Day Friday January 26, 2024.

50 years – Glory to God!

In 2024, as we rejoice in 50 years of God’s grace at Metropolitan Baptist Church, our heart cry is simply this – Glory to God!

Ephesians 3:21 reads ‘Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’

The Bible teaches us that we are created for God’s glory. We are commanded to give God glory because He is worthy.

In giving God glory it is a means for us to worship Him.

But it comes with a warning – we are to glory in God alone and not in ourselves.
Glory is not our right to claim, it is God’s alone. He will build His Church.

God is glorified in the growth and service in the Church.

It is individuals who make up the Church, and as we unite and serve God in 2024, God will work.

Why not join us as we celebrate 50 years of serving and ministering to the people of Lane Cove and beyond.

Rejoice in the 50 years of commissioning, sending, and supporting missionaries in Australia and overseas, the 50 years of learning, teaching, and ministry training offered by Sydney Bible Baptist College.

And 50 years of seeing lives of countless individuals changed through the Church ministry of personal soul-winning and witnessing outreach.

We’re excited about what God will do in 2024. All Glory to Him!

Pastor Mario Schiavone

Why we all need revival

Our yearly theme is revival. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 57 and verse 15, we have God’s pathway to revival. 

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Isaiah 57:15

The nation of Israel was in serious need of revival. 

I believe we are all in serious need of revival. 

Two years of pandemic mania and fearmongering has unfortunately revealed a lack of spiritual maturity in many and for others a serious decline in spirituality. 

Some have excelled spiritually, if we are honest with ourselves, we would admit to a decline in our spirituality.

This is why we need revival – a spiritual revival. 

The word “revive” means to renew, to make alive again, to resuscitate. 

First and foremost, you must have the life of the Spirit if you are to be revived spiritually. 

You need to be born-again by the Holy Ghost by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. 

If you want to be revived in 2022, you will need to make sure that you are a born-again Christian.

Time is short. We are definitely living in the last days. 

Our Lord Jesus is coming again, and only what is done for Jesus Christ will have eternal value. 

As the people of God, we need revival. Will you allow God to revive you in 2022?

Why not join us at Metropolitan Baptist Church as we learn about revival, look into Word of God accounts of revival, and see what it was that led to these specific revivals! 

I would like to encourage you to make our Church theme the desire and prayer of your heart in 2022.

Pastor Mario Schiavone

A Call for a Day of Fasting and Prayer

Large parts of the country are going through a difficult time due to the Coronavirus, we believe the Prime Minister should hold a National Day of Prayer.

There is a precedent for this in Australia and the US.

The year was 1838 and a severe drought threatened the livestock of the early colony of NSW. The colonists could not afford to lose any more animals because they were critical for their farming work and as a source of food. George Gipps was the governor of the colony at that time. Mr Gipps, a Bible-believing Christian, called for a day of fasting and prayer to be held on Sunday, 2 November of that year. Two days later, on the 4 November, the drought broke and it rained so much that many people came down with the flu. This 9th Governor of our nation, in his first year of office, applied God’s wisdom in dealing with that drought crisis.

Abraham Lincoln in 1863, called for a special day to seek the Lord as the US was in a perilous state.

We are in a national crisis with this pandemic, the states of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and parts of Queensland are in or have been in lockdown.

The majority of our nation’s population identify themselves as being Christian. Surely it is not unreasonable to seek prayer for the pandemic at this time.

In 1838 Governor Gipps rallied the nation around a unified, proactive strategy; I believe it would likewise be a worthy, unifying and positive strategy to call for the people of this nation to pray for Australia.

Click here:

Please send a message to the Prime Minister urging him to call a National Day of Prayer.

Watch & Pray

What should Christians do in these troubled times? The Bible has a simple, clear answer.

In Matthew chapter 26 and verse 41 Jesus Christ said: “Watch and pray!”

At Metropolitan Baptist Church in 2021, this is our yearly theme.

Why watch and pray? Because, as the verse continues, we may fall into temptation.

Yes, the Spirit is willing but our flesh is weak indeed!

Join us at Metropolitan Baptist Church as we watch and pray.

God will deliver on His promises in 2021.

– Pastor Mario Schiavone

What Is God Doing?

man on grass field looking at sky

What is God doing? Why is this happening? We approach these questions with both confidence and caution. We can be confident that the Lord speaks to us about everything we need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). So we search Scripture, read what others are saying, ask friends, and pray for wisdom. We expect insight. We are also cautious. We know our tendency is to overinterpret suffering and crave more specifics than Scripture offers. We want to know causes and reasons. Knowledge comforts. It gives us a sense of control and removes those nagging uncertainties. We assume that because the Old Testament prophets gave specifics, that we who have the Spirit should get even more clarity and certainty. The prophets, however, spoke to a nation that uniquely represented the Lord. We cannot lift their interpretations of plagues and pestilence and impose them on our present situation. What we can impose is that the prophets pointed to full redemption and rescue in Jesus Christ. In the cross we receive the knowledge of God, but its purpose is not to enable us to understand everything God does. Rather, its purpose is to move us closer, to fully trust him, even when—especially when—we don’t have all the answers we desire. Scripture always takes the question—What is God doing? —and moves us toward deeper trust.

Deeper trust? It almost seems counterintuitive. With this Covid-19 Pandemic, many are sick; many have died. Fear and grief and doubt are our daily companions. But the Lord knows what we need most in a crisis, and it is not the certainty of an explanation, but the certainty of knowing him. And so, in times of trouble, when it is harder than ever to listen to his words, he is simple and succinct, as if too many words will muddle us even more. In what follows, I will lead us through three of the certainties God speaks and asks us to trust in these times. I’ll suggest how you can personally respond in light of God’s reassurances. Though I cannot offer a direct answer to the question “What is God doing?” it does not mean the Lord is silent.

God says, I am with you. Speak to me. Scripture gives no prescribed starting point in discerning God’s ways, but here is a simple one. “Pour out your heart before him” (Ps 62:8). The kingdom of heaven certainly has room for quiet meditation, but its dominant feature is its abundance of good and important words. This, of course, is what we hope for in all of our close relationships. Words are the rule. To be silent, especially in the face of matters that weigh on our hearts, just seems wrong. Silence opts for independence over intimacy. In God’s house—and we have been brought into his house—we speak to him about what we deeply feel.

The psalms are a response to the Lord’s implicit and enduring request: “Speak to me about your fears, your doubts, your enemies, your feeling alone and in the dark, your sins, your desires, your thanks, your praise—speak to me about what is important to you.” Sounds easy, and, for some wise saints, it is. I so admire those who speak naturally to the Lord, often speaking out loud to him. Yet what they are doing is far from natural. What’s natural is silence, fretting, scheming, binge watching movies, playing one more video game, general dawdling, a distracted mind, and then more silence, and more fretting. Speaking to the Lord is not natural for sinners. It is supernatural—a gift from the Spirit and evidence of the Lord’s closeness and power in our lives. Expect to encounter resistance along the way. If your words to the Lord over the years have been few, simply get started. “Lord, I want to talk to you about this, but . . .”

Silence has its reasons: guilt from past or present sins, shame from the sins of others that persuade us that we are too worthless, embarrassment because we speak to him only when we are desperate (as if the Lord were our last option), general ineptness in speaking from our hearts to anyone, and so on. These reasons lead us back to discover the true knowledge of God in Christ.

He speaks to you. Stop and listen. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). The image is not of an impatient king who allots you five minutes to present your request, and he might punish you if he is in a bad mood. Instead, the gospel of Jesus is summarized in these words from Revelation 3. God has always pursued us. Now, in Christ, he has removed all obstacles to life in his presence. He forgives in one fell swoop, done and over. This forgiveness is yours when you simply open the door. When he comes in to be with you, speak to him.

Jesus never turns away from those who do. The psalms are filled with requests, such as “Give ear to my words, O Lord” (Ps 5:1), because psalmists know God will incline his ear to listen (Ps 10:17). His desire is for us to seek him. “Here I am, here I am” he says in Isaiah (65:1). Even to those in overt rebellion, he is welcoming: “I spread out my hands all the day” (Isa 65:2). Jesus, by the Spirit, is with us. On this rests all the promises of God.

Having learned more of the Lord, we get back to speaking to him as we do a friend. Some people who feel less than adequate with words will buy a card and let the card speak on their behalf. We can do similarly: we can take words from Scripture that speak for us, and speak those words back to the Lord. Make them your own. “When I remember you God, I moan…and my spirit faints…Has your steadfast love ceased? Have you forgotten to be gracious? Have you shut up your compassion?” (Ps 77:3,8–9). Or consider these words spoken in a Civil War movie by a child who had been mute for months. As her father was going off to battle, he pleaded with her, “please, honey, say something” and she remained silent. When he was almost out of sight, she was suddenly overcome and began to run after her father.

“Something,” she said. “Something, daddy.”

We are the children of God, saints who have been brought near, even called friends of God. Say something. Say anything.

What is God doing in this pandemic? He is inviting you to speak to him, so he can bear your burdens with you. Start with the hard things first. The people lost. The fear of losing more. The possibility of infecting others, or even dying. Then bring the rest. The financial uncertainty. The sheer length of time isolated. The likelihood that so much will be changed on the far side of the pandemic. He is the God who hears (Gen 16:11).

God says, I am over you. Fear me. When trouble persists, our words to the Lord are increasingly coupled with the fear of the Lord. This means that we acknowledge that God alone is God. He is over us. We humbly submit to his will, which we know will express his faithful love toward us (even if we are afraid of what his will might be). An early mentor in the fear of the Lord is Job, who, with less knowledge of God than we have, spoke these words after his crushing loss. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). The fear of the Lord is the founda-tion for all wise and fruitful living.

Our later mentor is Jesus Christ. In his darkest hour, he said to his father, “not my will, but thine be done.” At the cross, he claimed Psalm 22 as his own, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Jesus’ delight was the fear of the Lord (Isa 11:3) and he knew the Father’s abandonment was not his final word. Jesus was confident that his father heard him, and he freely submitted to his father’s will.

Psalm 22 is for all those who fear the Lord—the One who is over them. They know the strength of their God, their own weakness, and their need for him. “Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.” (Ps 22:23–24) Note the word awe. It is a reliable sign of the fear of the Lord. And notice his presence with the afflicted.


God is with us; we speak with him as we would a friend.

God is over us; we submit to his will.

We cannot endure hardship without both. We need to know he is with us in our distress, so we can trust him for the outcome.

Psalm 130 follows the same pattern. The psalmist begins with grief, “Out of the depths have I cried” The bridge to contented submission is the assurance that his sins are forgiven and now nothing can separate him from the Lord and his promises. God offers forgiveness (v.4). Having joined God-with-us and God-over-us, the psalmist can then wait patiently and trust him during affliction.

Another way we acknowledge God is over us is by identifying ourselves as God’s servants. Moses was a friend of God, but his prominent title was servant of God (Josh 22:2; Rev 15:3). Joshua was first known as the son of Nun but was eventually rewarded with the title servant of God (Judges 2:8). Jesus, himself, was a servant of God (Matt 12:18). He came to serve rather than be served. As did the apostle Paul. “Let a man so account of us, as of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1). He identifies himself this way especially when he is called to endure hardships (2 Cor 6:4). A servant of God fears God. A servant of God accepts God’s plans.

What is God doing in this pandemic? He is leading you into his love by teaching you to fear him—to submit to his loving sovereignty—above all else. Having spoken your griefs and troubles to him, acknowledge him as Lord over you and Lord over COVID-19. Freely submit to his good will. Contentment becomes possible when you remember that, like the psalmist, your sins were the only thing that kept you from his presence, and in Christ you have been forgiven. His promises of blessing are sure. Now your father gives you the prized mantle of servant. A servant, in all circumstances, simply asks, “What is your will, Lord?”

God says, live by faith. Depend on me when I test you. God is with us. God is over us. These two prepare us for the trials that test our souls, and COVID is certainly a test of our souls. The book of James is insistent that we keep this testing in view.

God-with-us is clear in James. The tone is familial. God is our father; we are beloved brothers and sisters, children of the Most High God. James also emphasizes the companion to God’s nearness: he alone is God and he is over all his creation. We see this immediately when James introduces himself as God’s servant. Then the theme continues. James leads us in a determined obedience before and under the Lord. He calls us to patience and endurance—humble dependence—in our hardships. Our primary problem is our tendency toward pride and feeling superior to others. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God” (4:6–7). When we make plans, we begin and end those plans with “if the Lord wills” (4:15).

This instruction prepares us for the testing we experience from the trials of life. The banner of the book is James 1:2–4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”. Here we find a third and certain answer to the question: What is God doing? The twin themes of God’s familial closeness and his transcendent power and authority merge in God’s testing of his royal children. He tested his children before sin entered the world, he tested his son, and he tests us. That is what kings do when their children ascend to significant responsibilities. Children who leave the kingdom are no longer tested. But God takes those who follow him through a maturing process in such a way that, having grown, we lack no good thing. Since testing is a sign of belonging and hope, it is reason for joy.

Consider David Powlison’s useful illustration: a person is carrying a cup of water, gets bumped by another, and water splashes out of the cup. What happened? The occasion for the spill was the jostling from someone else, but what came out of the glass revealed what had been in the glass. That is, the trials of life test our souls in a way that reveal what is inside of our hearts. My snarky comments to my wife or complaining spirit say something about the contributing events, but they usually say even more about what was already in me. God tests me to bring it to my attention. It does not feel good at the time, but I am joyful that God cares enough about me to identify where my unbelief is hiding.

What is God doing in this pandemic? He is testing your soul. That’s the nature of painful and unpredictable circumstances like this. Such tests reveal growing faith, little faith that can quickly lose sight of spiritual realities, or no apparent faith in that we live as though God is absent. One encourages us—we are growing and want to grow even more. One surprises us—we didn’t think that our rest in Christ could be so quickly disturbed. One leads us to confession of sin—the sin of turning from the Lord when he doesn’t give us what we want. Each of these lead us back to the pleasure of knowing that we are his.

What Is God Doing?

As promised, we did not answer the question we started with. Scripture does not tend to explain specific events with prophetic certainty. But we did discuss three certainties that will sustain you in this time of peril. God says—

I am with you.

I am over you.

I am maturing you.

Though we can enter into these in any order, there is a natural progression. The Lord brings us close through his loving faithfulness and many promises, and we speak to him from our hearts. In prayer, we can thank him for being close, and then we tell him what we are concerned about. As trials persist and defy our expectation of how the Lord should treat his people, he reveals his greatness, glory, and majesty, and we grow in humble obedience, awe, and patience. We remind ourselves we are his servants and can trust him. This trust can be expressed in small acts of faithfulness today as we know that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1). Then we learn how trouble and trials are no mere troubles. For us, they are troubles that reveal and mature, to the end that we are complete and satisfied in Jesus Christ.


Adapted from an article by Ed Welch

The Story of Richard Wurmbrand

“God, I know surely that You do not exist. But if perchance You exist, which I contest, it is not my duty to believe in You; it is Your duty to reveal Yourself to me.” 1 The young Jewish atheist who uttered that flippant prayer was Richard Wurmbrand, born in 1909 in Bucharest, Romania. Little did he know how completely God would answer him, call him to a life of service to Christ, and use him to raise up one of the strongest ministries in the world today that helps the persecuted church.

Richard Wurmbrand


Salvation and Service

In 1938, in a remote Romanian village, an old German carpenter named Christian Wolfkes lay sick. The only person by his side giving aid and comfort was a Jewish follower of Christ. When Wolfkes recovered, he was so grateful to God that he prayed earnestly for the opportunity to share the gospel with a Jewish person. Although none lived in his village, still he prayed.

One day a young, newly married Jewish couple arrived on vacation. They were Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand. The carpenter enthusiastically gave Richard a Bible. Richard had read the Scriptures once but had gotten nothing from them. However, this time, his heart was stirred. He didn’t know why, until he learned the secret. The carpenter and his wife had spent many long hours every day praying for his salvation. “The Bible he gave me was written not so much in words, but in flames of love fired by his prayers,” Richard would write later. 2

The carpenter spoke about God’s unconditional love for the Jewish people (Dt. 7:6–7; Jer. 31:3), the Messianic fulfillments in Jesus, and Jesus’ purpose in coming to Earth: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (Jn. 3:17). The Spirit of God freed Richard’s heart, and he believed. Sabina also came to faith and was so deeply changed she soon brought others to the Messiah.

To help Richard grow in the faith, God led him to a Jewish pastor named Isaac Feinstein in Jassy, Romania. Feinstein led a sizeable congregation of Jewish believers. As they talked, Richard cried out, “No, no!” With tears in his eyes he declared, “I do not want a Jesus who has been calculated, explained, and believed in, but a real Jesus.” 3

The pastor asked him to stay for prayer that night. It was then the Holy Spirit so deeply touched Richard’s heart to God’s great salvation that he immediately understood service for Christ meant full surrender as a living sacrifice (cf. Rom. 12:1). “I do not understand everything that has happened to me,” he wrote, “but I believe that my whole life, and the life of all His [God’s] children, has been planned by God, down to the smallest detail.” 4

Richard was focused on the Bible alone. He observed, the Jewish people have given to the world the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, a book written by Jews, but which is at the same time the Word of God—the only book capable of satisfying the spiritual needs of the world. And it will satisfy these needs when it is once again in the hands of those who have written it, and when they gather round Him who is the chief subject of the book, Jesus the Messiah of the Jews and the Saviour of nations. 5

This was his call, to take the gospel to the Jewish people (cf. Rom. 1:16). For more than 25 years of a ministry that spanned almost three-quarters of a century—whether free or imprisoned; through peace, war, and unspeakable torture—Richard Wurmbrand kept firm on that goal.

Then Came the Nazis

Romania was allied with Germany during World War II and was viciously anti-Semitic. Believing in Jesus did nothing to protect the Jews from the Nazis or the fascist Romanian Iron Guards. One of the worst pogroms in Jewish history took place on June 27, 1941, in Jassy when soldiers, police, and mobs tore through the town and savagely massacred 13,266 Jewish people.

Among them were Richard’s dear friend, Pastor Feinstein, and all the Jewish believers in Christ. (See “A Martyr for Messiah,”) “Not a single man from the Jewish-Christian congregation in Jassy survived; all were killed in the pogrom. Only a few girls escaped with their lives,” wrote Wurmbrand. 6

The Wurmbrands wept, but Feinstein’s death gave them strength to stand for Christ. They preached in bomb shelters and rescued Jewish children from ghettos. Again and again they were arrested and beaten. Sabina’s parents, two sisters, and one brother were killed in the concentration camps. Yet, like Pastor Feinstein, Richard and Sabina spoke of salvation to everyone, including prison guards and soldiers. Many came to faith.

Then Came the Communists

After the war, the Communists poured into Romania. Richard, now a pastor, preached boldly to the Russian troops and resisted pressure to swear loyalty to the atheistic rule. On one occasion, the Wurmbrands were forced to attend the Congress of Cults. About 4,000 people were there, and the session was broadcast live throughout the country. Many religious leaders forsook their faith. Sabina told Richard, “Stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ.” Knowing the cost, Richard stood and declared to all that their loyalty was to Christ first. He was kidnapped by the secret police and spent the next 14 years in prison, suffering horrific tortures and brutality. Even the Nazis were not as cruel to him as the Communists.

For three years he was kept in solitary confinement in a cell 30 feet beneath the ground. Among other things, he was forced to sit erect with eyes wide open and listen over and over to the words Communism is good. Christianity is stupid. Give up. Sabina was arrested and spent three years in slave-labor camps. Their nine-year-old son and only child, Mihai, was forced to live in the streets. After being released, Sabina spent several years under house arrest. When Richard was briefly released, they formed an underground church. Many people were saved as he preached to Russian soldiers and dis-tressed Romanians.

Free at Last

In 1965 Christians in Norway heard of the Wurmbrands’ plight and ransomed them for $10,000. The secret police told Richard to remain silent about his ordeal. But Richard never remained silent. In 1966 he testified before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee about his inhumane treatment in Communist prisons. As proof of his torture, he stripped to the waist to show 18 deep torture wounds on his body. His story quickly spread, and he became known as “the voice of the underground church.”

The Wurmbrands soon immigrated to the United States and began a work called Jesus to the Communist World, later renamed The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

Sabina wrote her prison memoirs, The Pastor’s Wife, published in six languages. And Richard’s books are bestsellers in more than 50 languages. His book Tortured for Christ, released in 1967, has become a classic. Wrote VOM: “By the mid-1980s his work was established in 80 restricted nations with offices in 30 countries around the world.”

In 1990, after the fall of Romania’s Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, the Wurmbrands returned to Romania for the first time in 25 years. Richard preached in many churches and also on public television. In addition, a Christian printing facility and bookstore were opened in Bucharest, and city officials offered storage below Ceausescu’s palace, the very site where Richard had been held in solitary confinement. 7

On August 11, 2000, Sabina went home to the Lord. A year later, a month before his 92nd birthday, Pastor Wurmbrand was reunited with her in heaven. Wrote their son, Mihai, in 2009: In 2006, the Romanian government-owned TV Broadcasting station (TVR), in cooperation with one of the largest newspapers of the country…started a poll among readers and viewers as to who were or are the greatest, most admired Romanian personalities throughout history. The television station promised to prepare one-hour TV documentaries about each of the top ten finalists. These secular promoters were flabbergasted to find out that nearly 400,000 random participants chose, right behind the top three most-known kings of Romania and Romania’s national poet, as the fifth most admired Romanian personality of all times, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. 8

Despite all the torture and hardship an evil world could throw at them, the Wurmbrands stood firm to the end in their devotion and service to Jesus Christ and left a legacy for the rest of us to follow. Wrote the man who was once an atheist: “Our lives are planned in eternity; our lives serve God’s purpose. I can be confident, even when I understand nothing.” 9



  1. Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ (Bartlesville, OK: Living Sacrifice Books, 1998), 12.
  2. Ibid., 13.
  3. Richard Wurmbrand, Christ on the Jewish Road (Middlebury, IN: Living Sacrifice Books, 1975), 36.
  4. Ibid., 12.
  5. Ibid., 9.
  6. Ibid., 32.
  7. “The Story of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand” <www.persecution.com.au/who-are-we/the-story-of-richard-and-sabina-wurmbrand>.
  8. Michael (Mihai) Wurmbrand, “Snapshots: A Son Remembers His Father,” 2009 <torturedforchrist.com/remember>.
  9. Wurmbrand, Christ on the Jewish Road, 12.

Taken from: Israel my Glory, September/October 2010 Peter Colón

C.H. Spurgeon on London’s Cholera Outbreaks

The Victorian era preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) began preaching in London in April 1854. Later that year the United Kingdom’s capital city suffered an outbreak of cholera in which 600 people died, with a mortality rate of over 12% in parts of the city. Another outbreak in 1866 claimed a further 5,596 lives.

Spurgeon visited many of the sick and dying and spoke at numerous funerals. He often addressed the issue of the outbreaks in his sermons. The following selected quotes from Spurgeon’s sermons are most instructive relative to the recent Coronavirus pandemic (2019-2020):

“Who is the man that does not fear to die? I will tell you. The man that is a believer. Fear to die! Thank God, I do not. The cholera may come again next summer – I pray God it may not; but if it does, it matters not to me: I will toil and visit the sick by night and by day, until I drop; and if it takes me, sudden death is sudden glory” (18th Feb 1855)

“In times of pestilence it is possible to walk in the midst of cholera and death, singing – ‘Plagues and deaths around me fly, till he please, I cannot die.’ It is possible to stand exposed to the utmost degree of danger, and yet to feel such a holy serenity that we can laugh at fear; too great, too mighty, too powerful through God to stoop for one moment to the cowardice of trembling” (14th Oct 1855)

“How many of the same sort of confessions, too, have we seen in times of cholera, and fever, and pestilence! Then our churches have been crammed with hearers, who, because so many funerals have passed their doors, or so many have died in the street, could not refrain from going up to God’s house to confess their sins. And under that visitation, when one, two, and three have been lying dead in the house, or next door, how many have thought they would really turn to God! But, alas! when the pestilence had done its work, conviction ceased; and when the bell had tolled the last time for a death caused by cholera, then their hearts ceased to beat with penitence, and their tears did flow no more” (18th Jan 1857)

“If you ask me what I think to be the design, I believe it to be this – to waken up our indifferent population, to make them remember that there is a God, to render them susceptible of the influences of the gospel, to drive them to the house of prayer, to influence their minds to receive the Word, and moreover to startle Christians into energy and earnestness, that they may work while it is called to-day. Already I have been told by Christian brethren labouring in the east of London, that there is a greater willingness to listen to gospel truth, and that if there be a religious service it is more acceptable to the people now than it was; for which I thank God as an indication that affliction is answering its purpose” (Aug 12th 1866)

– Article adapted from Webtruth.org

Fear, Frailty and Faith in a COVID-19 World

The busy jovial self-employed painter I met yesterday in the decorating supplies shop was having none of it.

“I won’t be getting the virus. I’m immune to everything. I’m even immune to work!”

I smiled at his dark British humour, inwardly wondering if he was actually more worried than he was letting on.

The Romanian cleaner I met earlier in the day was, I think, more honest.

“We are scared. All my family back home in Romania are scared also.”

Fear is back. More to the point, what the Bible bluntly calls “the fear of death” is back.

But there’s another emotion overwhelming the mind of humanity right now. A sense of frailty – of helplessness, if you will – of not being in control.

Speaking on The Stansberry Investor Hour on 18th March, financial adviser and author Dan Ferris said, “I’m praying – literally, for the first time in decades. I’ve been an atheist for years. But literally, I was on my hands and knees, with my head bowed and my hands folded earlier this week, saying, ‘Please, if you’re out there man, we get it. We’re fragile. We don’t need any more of this.’ As you can tell, I’m at a loss.”

Perhaps a Bible prayer might help put it into more eloquent words: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”¹

Realising you aren’t in control of your death – never mind your stocks and shares – and discovering you actually have no idea what death is about or what may come after it, is at one and the same time both a moment of terror and a moment of clarity.

That’s why COVID-19 is a such an incredible wake up call to planet earth – not just about the need to ban live animal markets, and to invest billions more in our health care systems – but about eternity. About God. About our unreadiness to face the music for our hitherto “I did it my way” lives.

Most will probably ignore it. Others may prick up their ears for a month or two, only to go back to sleep “once we get through this” or once science comes to our rescue with a vaccine and we wonder how we could ever have allowed ourselves to be so silly as to worry.

So I guess this post is just a note directed at anyone who is genuinely thinking about the big picture and sincerely looking for a coherent satisfying answer. Fearful and aware of our frailty, to whom can we turn?

Sitting on the margins of our affluent, progressive, enlightened society all this time has been the only Person who truly has anything of substance to say to our world at this critical moment.

Jesus Christ, the eternal, living Son of God.

Because He has been through death and come out the other side in victorious resurrection, He alone can genuinely say, “Let not your heart be troubled…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me…because I live, you shall live also.”²

That’s why He deserves your attention and, ultimately, your trust – or as the Bible calls it, your faith.

Right now the world desperately needs more hospital beds, more ventilators, more time. But faith? Don’t mock us. How can a nebulous spiritual feeling contribute anything useful to this global crisis?

The faith you need right now is no vacuous will-o’-the-wisp religious sentiment, nor even a crazed leap in the dark. Faith is taking what God says in the Bible as gospel and staking your eternal well-being on it.

What does that look like?

It means that God is God. He is the almighty, holy, righteous Creator from whom you came and to whom you are accountable.

Most of the time we pretend He is not there. We call ourselves atheists. We say “Where’s the evidence for God?”. But our unbelief is really just a smokescreen for the fact that we want what we want when we want it, and no one is going to spoil our fun. The bottom line in life is always the same: who sets the rules, God or me?

Breaking rules is part of our DNA. As children, the quickest way to get us to break a rule was to give us one. But ultimately, all our rule breaking is against God. We have sinned against the Almighty, repeatedly and defiantly. Yet, in the greatest expression of love and mercy the world has ever seen, Jesus Christ suffered, bled and died on the cross 2,000 years ago, to expunge the guilt of our disobedience and sin: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the punishment for our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”³

If you will, right now, give up on any hope of ever making yourself acceptable to God by religion, self improvement or good works, and take your place as a fearful, frail, mortal deserving the wrath of God for ever; and then by faith look to God’s Son Jesus Christ – who on the cross “loved you and gave Himself for you” – and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour, you will be forgiven, delivered from the fear of death, and will receive the free gift of eternal life through Him.

Your fear of death, gone. Your frailty in the face of overwhelming catastrophe, swallowed up in the strength of Christ. Your faith, resting on the unshakable Word of God.

by Michael J. Penfold



  1. Psalm 39:4
  2. John 14:1-19 (selections)
  3. Isaiah 53:5


Source: https://www.webtruth.org/cultural-issues/fear-frailty-and-faith-in-a-covid-19-world/ published 21 March 2020

When the plague came to Wittenberg

The bubonic plague struck Wittenberg, Germany, in August of 1527. This disease was especially horrific: in just one day, an infected person could show signs of delirium, fever, speech disorders, and loss of consciousness. Soon after, they would break out in large boils that infected the bloodstream and rapidly led to their death.

Martin Luther and his wife Katharina, who was pregnant at the time, were urged to flee the city. However, they chose to stay in order to minister to the sick and dying.

When asked by Christians in another city for advice, Luther wrote a pamphlet that is as remarkable today as when he produced it. Titled “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague,” it combines realism and faith in a way that is powerfully relevant to our crisis.

Luther counseled his readers to utilize medicine and intelligence “to guard and to take good care of the body so that we can live in good health.” As a result, he stated, “I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it.” He also practiced what we call social distancing: “I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”

With this caveat: “If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely.” He understood the urgency of sharing the gospel so as to lead the sick to saving faith before they died and to minister to believers in their final days.

“Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”
As it turned out, Martin and Katharina Luther were spared from the plague. But they did not know this when they chose to stay behind to care for the sick of their community.

They could risk their lives to serve others because they were not afraid to die. Their hope was in proper procedures and medical treatments, but even more, it was in Christ. They trusted their Lord to protect them in life and to bring them to heaven in death, whenever it came.

My point is not that we should refuse the urgent calls to social distancing that are absolutely crucial to slowing the spread of the pandemic. To the contrary, as one primary care physician notes, we must adopt such critical measures immediately.

My point is that choosing to hope in God as the Luthers did sustains us as nothing else can. It reminds us that the worst that can happen to us leads to the best that can happen to us. The moment we close our eyes on this diseased, fallen planet, we open them in God’s perfect paradise. When we take our last breath here, we take our first breath there.

Source: The Daily Article by Dr Jim Denison: https://www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/st-patricks-courage-and-martin-luthers-hope-how-to-make-god-our-mighty-fortress-today/