1. Jenolan Caves Carols and underground Church

 2. The Legacy of C S Lewis 

 3. Watch ‘The Surgery Ship’, premiere on SBS, 8.30pm, next Tuesday December 10, 2013

4.Zac Young’s last Prayer 

5. The Pregnant Alternatives Centre Surry Hills Sydney

 6. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures relating to Marriage & Divorce  for 2012

 7. AFF  National Campaign to implement UK opt-in internet porn scheme

8. New Christian children’s book just in time for Christmas

9. Newcastle Christians support Philippine typhoon victims


1. Jenolan Caves Carols and Underground Church

The 22nd Carols in the Caves

14 Dec 2013

Their biggest annual event! Once again, they are thrilled to present two spectacular Christmas carols concerts (matinee and evening) in the massive ‘twilight’ cave, the Grand Arch.  Join in singing traditional Christmas carols, with a range of fantastic singers, who perform on stage, and scale to great heights to sing on rocky ledges, among the stalagmites and stalactites.

As well there is a Christmas non-denominational service Church Service, deep underground, in the Cathedral Chamber of the Lucas Cave.
Note that it is 252 steep stair steps to reach the Cathedral Chamber. Once inside, you can sit, relax, hear the Christmas message.  After catching your breath, you can sing well-known Christmas Carols and enjoy a beautiful solo, in the acoustically perfect chamber. . 

The cave is a constant16 degrees Celsius. So, although it might be hot above ground, worshippers should bring warm clothes for the one-hour service.

Although Jenolan Caves hosts many underground weddings, it holds church services twice a year – at Easter and Christmas – organised by a group of dedicated Christians on Jenolan’s staff.

Like any other Australian rural community, for most of its 174 year history, the residents of Jenolan Caves attended church. Until the late 1960s, underground church services were held weekly. In the 1870s, the services were Methodist. But over the years, the Cathedral Chamber was used by other denominations. Amazingly, in the 1960s, services were broadcast regularly from the Cathedral Chamber and aired live on Sydney radio station, 2GB! In 2008, World Youth Day saw the Cathedral Chamber used for Catholic Mass, approximately 50 times, over 8 days – each Mass accommodating a full busload of pilgrims!

As Jenolan’s early cave explorers mapped their way through unfamiliar passages and caverns, they named a multitude of formations after familiar stories from the Bible. Jenolan’s Cathedral Chamber was named not only because of its huge dimensions (54 metres high), but because its massive formations reminded explorers of church features – the ‘baptismal font’, the ‘pulpit’, ‘the organ’, ‘the belfry’, ‘the organ pipes’ and ‘the cathedral windows’.

Read more 


2. The Legacy of C S Lewis 


C S Lewis died on the 22nd November 1963 one week before his 65th birthday just over fifty years ago.

Media coverage of his death was almost completely overshadowed by news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on the same day, as did the death of Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World. This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft‘s book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley.[46]

Read more from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis

To honour C S Lewis the  CS Lewis Institute on Discipleship was established  http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/

Their Decade of Discipleship course is available here  and also here 

When a person makes a confession of faith and is never taken through a formal discipleship process, there is little hope of seeing genuine spiritual transformation.”  – Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary

The American church is dying, not from lack of effective evangelism, nor from lack of resources, but from lack of effective discipleship.”  – Michael Ramsden, European Director of Ravi Zacharias Ministries.

The official C S Lewis Website

3. Watch ‘The Surgery Ship’, premiere on SBS, 8.30pm, next Tuesday December 10, 2013 


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‘The Surgery Ship’ is a documentary which shows the life-changing work of Mercy Shipsmedical volunteers onboard the Africa Mercy.

This documentary has been shot by an independent producer and is entirely from a secular perspective. It will create awareness about the life-changing work of our volunteers as they endeavor to provide medical services to the poorest of the poor onboard the Africa Mercy.

‘The Surgery Ship’ was shot late last year in Guinea, a predominantly Muslim country where there is only 1 doctor for 10,000 people. Director Madeleine Hetherton and her film crew documented the professional and emotional challenges faced by Mercy Ships volunteers and their patients. The results are heart warming, dramatic and life-altering.

Bringing Hope and Healing to the Forgotten Poor

The volunteers cure as many people as they can, such as Maimuna, a 13-year-old girl who suffers from a large neuro fibroma tumour that has engulfed her eye and after surgery is able to fulfill her dream of going to school.


Hetherton observes: “The Surgery Ship is also a story about the everyday heroism of both Africans and the volunteers, and the human drive to rise above circumstances, to survive, and give the best of ourselves.”

Spread the News!

Watch ‘The Surgery Ship’, premiere on SBS, 8.30pm, December 10, 2013. Please share this news with your family, friends and colleagues.

Watch the trailer 

‘The Surgery Ship’ was commissioned by SBS Television and made with the support of Screen Australia and Screen NSW. It was directed and produced by Sydney-based production company, Media Stockade.


4. Zac Young’s last Prayer 

AS 19-year-old bodyboarder Zac Young was being pulled to shore, bleeding heavily from a shark attack, It has been revealed Mr Young turned to his good mate Kurt Gillan and prayed as he was being dragged to shore.

“He passed away peacefully, no pain, with his last words to me being: ‘I love you brother’,” Mr Gillan, 18, wrote on Facebook yesterday.

“He began to pray ‘please God, my lord and Saviour, help protect my friends and help me through this time of need’. He then went unconscious.”

…described a cheeky teenager who once struggled with the usual distractions of his peers but who had a “revelation” a few years ago, which prompted him to redesign the way he was living.

Mr Young’s regular pastor, Steve Covetz of The Point Community Church, said the teen had already changed the world of those who knew him.

Read more

5. The Pregnant Alternatives Centre – Surry Hills Sydney

What every Community needs.

The Pregnant Alternatives Centre in Surry Hills Sydney is a place where you can go for confidential, caring support.

We understand that for many women, an unexpected pregnancy can be a stressful time. Whatever is going on in your life right now, we are here to listen.
We can provide information about your options if you are trying to decide what to do. We can also provide support and help for you during your pregnancy and beyond.

We won’t judge or tell you what to do. But we will answer your questions honestly about your options and alternatives. We simply want to support women to face an unplanned pregnancy with courage and hope.

Recently they held a fundraiser with a presentation about the work of Pregnant Alternatives by Dr Melissa Wood where she underlined their vital provision of non-judgemental and compassionate environment for women and men who need someone to talk to, someone to listen, and someone to support them in what can be a very confusing and difficult time in life.

The centre, situated just across the road from a busy abortion clinic in Surrey Hills, specifically helps women facing unplanned pregnancy move forward with confidence and hope. Its services also extend to both genders struggling with post abortion issues.

Organisers of the event commented on the fact that there were so many people participating in the evening who hadn’t been involved in life work before and who were deeply touched by the message and mission.

“I could barely believe my ears, hearing that abortion was so rife in our culture today,” said clinical nurse, and Mother of the evening’s star performer, Lyn Foxall.  “That explained to me why it’s so rare for us to see kids coming through our genetic dysplasia clinic as often these days … because they’re aborted before they can access help!”

As well as supplying trained counsellors, the centre also offers practical assistance, resources, and financial services.

The centre believes in informed decisions so providing accurate information to clients is also part of their work.

You can assist the work of Pregnant Alternatives by volunteering your skills or time, offering financial support or by donating pregnancy related items.

Email pregnantalternatives@gmail.com or call (02) 9699 8190 or Visit www.pregnantalternatives.org.au for more information.

Donations can be made online or by cheque payable to “Pregnant Alternatives”, 2/135 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010.

NB. Photos available at: https://www.facebook.com/events/213023788859581/

Website: http://pregnantalternatives.com.au/

6. The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures relating to Marriage& Divorce  for 2012


Marriage Week ~ Australia  14 – 20 September 2014

The Australian Bureau of Statistics have just released the figures relating to Marriage & Divorce in our nation for 2012

The salient points to note are that:

·        Marriagesbetween one man and one woman, are still on the increase – there were 123,244 marriages and increase of 1,492(1.2%) on 2011. This is however not all good news in that in relation to our population the “crude” marriage rate is lower than it was in 1992.

·         In2012, 80.8% of all brides and 79.2% of all grooms had not married previously

·         The proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has increased over the past 20 years. In 2012, 71.9% of all marriages were performed by civil celebrants. Civil marriages have outnumbered religious ceremonies since 1999. In 2012, of the 34,613 marriages performed by ministers of religion, the most common rites used were Catholic (31.8%) followed by Anglican (16.2%).

·         In 2012, couples who cohabited before marrying were more likely to marry in a civil ceremony than those who lived apart, with 78.2% of couples cohabiting married in a civil ceremony, compared with 21.8% of those who lived apart.

·         The majority of couples registering their marriage in 2012 cohabited prior marriage (77.6%). While the proportion of couples cohabiting prior to marriage decreased from 2011 to 2012, the number of couples cohabiting prior to marriage increased by 445.

·         Sadly, In 2012, there were 49,917 divorces granted in Australia, an increase of 982 (2.0%) compared to 2011.

·         People between 40-44 years of age had the highest percentage of divorces granted, with 16.9% of males and 17.6% of females being granted a divorce falling in the age group in 2012.

·        In  2012, there were 24,144 divorces involving children, that is 44,834 children under 18 years of age. This represents 48.4% of all divorces granted.

These figures continue to be a “wake-up call” to us in the Church but what should churches be doing to support marriages in their congregation and community?

Every church in this country needs to give serious attention to establishing a top notch marriage ministry. Why? Because apart from anything else the local Church is likely to sink or swim depending how healthy its marriages are. Marriage is crucial to a church’s growth and outreach programming. If a church is focused on evangelism they should discover that marriage is a great portal for evangelism. From our experience with “The Marriage Course” (Relationshipcentral Australia), and we have also heard this from other marriage focused ministries that unchurched couples in a community will enter the doors of a church for a marriage seminar when they won’t come to church for any other reason

But how can a church develop an excellent marriage ministry? By adopting a life-span approach for the couples they minister to. For example, the local church needs to examine what it is doing to prepare youth and singles for healthy dating and eventual marriage. A premarital education program is crucial. We believe every church should have at least marriage mentoring ministry. With its boomerang effect, marriage mentoring not only strengthens newlyweds but also the more seasoned couples.


Marriage Week ~ Australia
PO Box 780, PYMBLE, NSW 2073 | |

‘phone: +61 (0)2 8002 1889



7. AFF  National Campaign to implement UK opt-in internet porn scheme


The Australian Federation for the Family (AFF) is launching a nationwide campaign asking concerned parents (and what parent wants their children ensnared by unwanted access to  the deadly and highly addictive Internet porn?) to contact Mr Abbott and ask him to implement the UK opt-in system here in Australia. It filters nothing, it censors nothing it just allows those who want Internet porn to opt-on for it. If Aussie families don’t want it, do nothing and you won’t get it. It is a win/win deal! 

All you have to say is,

“Dear Mr Abbott,

Will you please help protect Aussie children from Internet porn by initiating an opt-in system like the UK has done? This is not banning or burning or censoring anything it it just allowing children to grow up as children free from the well known dangers of access to Internet porn.

The UK government is protecting its children this way, will you please protect our’s also? If not, why not?”

That is all you have to say, you can mention that all your church members/friends/neighbours also feel this way and want to know what he says! Please share this post widely.

Contact your PM | Prime Minister of Australia http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm


8. New Christian children’s book just in time for Christmas 

The Womb Diary is a delightful, beautifully illustrated children’s book tracing the gestational process from conception to birth.

The book is written by Australian author David Maegraith, co-founder of Eternity newspaper.

“I wanted to give a simple visualisation of what goes on inside the womb,” he says. “I was inspired by my daughter’s questions on the pregnancy process and this is the result.”

Big brothers or sisters, cousins, and little friends will take delight in following their baby’s actual development in mummy’s tummy, with this accurate diary of foetal development in the womb.

Just in time for Christmas, The Womb Diary can be used by parents to talk about the development of Jesus in the womb 2,000 years ago.

The Womb Diary is available in print and eBook versions and can be viewed and ordered from www.thewombdiary.com



9. Newcastle Christians support Philippine typhoon victims 

Steve Blake reports from Newcastle:

I have just returned from a quick trip to the Philippines.

Our great friend Phil Bear travelled with me. Our purpose was to begin practical and financial projects to help the people most in need, following the devastation of the Typhoon.

We purchased chainsaws and diesel generators in Manila for the massive task ahead. Most of the region around Samar and Leyte will be without electricity for many months. Mountains of debris and fallen trees need to be moved before people can begin re-establishing their homes.

Phil is still on the island of Leyte, in a community south of Tacloban. He has established a team of local workers, taught them to use the chainsaws and overseen the clean-up. Next we will look at re-construction work in the community there. Phil is installing the diesel generators now, in Burauen and Gandara. They are very large units, which will provide enough power for houses and reconstruction work.

The situation for people there is heart breaking. Many are still in shock. The storm is recognized as possibly the most powerful in history. Slowly, sufficient food and water is getting to the people in most needy areas. We are focussing on some communities which are receiving no, or hardly any support.

We are thankful that Letty Javier, Lizzy Sykes and Scott Buchanan were able to get emergency medical supplies to Burauen, where we will be working alongside Margaret Pashley’s wonderful Centre for Change, reaching out with help to the community there. That team provided very valuable immediate information back to us, allowing us to invest immediately into the most needy situations.

Next Monday, Wal and Kaylene Korotkich will fly to Manila on their way to Samar. They will continue our assessment and program commitments in Samar and Leyte. Our friends on the ground in Gandara, Tacloban and Burauen have been of great assistance. We are working as a team. We have already invested heavily into immediate needs and are now looking at the best way we can help into the future. Please continue to pray for Phil, who will return next Monday morning (2 Dec.) and also for Wal and Kaylene as they leave next Monday for three weeks.

Pleases pray for the families who are suffering such loss. Many cannot locate family members who are officially “missing”. We have had requests from Filipino friends in Cyprus to try to locate and help their loved ones. Most people have lost their livelihood.

The other heart-wrenching experience was seeing the numbers of women and children living on the streets in Manila. So many who fled to the big city now have nowhere to live.

So, we ask for your continued prayerful and financial support as we make commitments to bring change into as many families as possible, in Jesus’ Name. May the Lord give us wisdom to do this well. 

Steve Blake

Liberty for the Nations

PO Box 441