Identity Theft edited by Melissa Kruger

Where I live is often called a “gateway to Australia”, because its where many immigrants, particularly refugees, first live when they arrive here. And when you look around you can see where people have come from over the past 50 years. We have Ukranian and Russian churches along with Croatian, German-Austrian and Italian clubs from those who arrived after WWII. There are South American butchers and pastry shops and even a Spanish radio station set up by those who fled conflict in El Salvador and Chile in the 1970s. They were followed by many Vietnamese who have settled and opened restaurants and grocers; and more recently the place has gained an Iraqi and Syrian flavour. 76% of people speak a language other than English at home, compared with the state average of 27%*. It’s a fascinating place to live, where I learn new things about other cultures and backgrounds all the time.

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Identity Theft edited by Melissa Kruger

Recently I heard that the computer system of the medical centre I attend had been hacked. It made me feel pretty uncomfortable to think that my family’s details might end up in the wrong hands, affecting our privacy and confidentiality. Might it even lead to identity theft? I really hope not, but we’ll have to wait and see. Have you had that experience before? Maybe like me, you’ve had online details accessed. Or maybe you’ve had your wallet stolen and bills racked up on your credit cards, or your Facebook hacked, or some other identity theft. According to the Australian Federal Police identity theft costs Australia $1.6 billion each year *. That’s a serious amount of money!

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Is God Green? by Lionel Windsor

If you’re like me then you don’t even question whether a Christian should care about the environment and do all that is reasonable and within their power to look after the planet. But as I get older I keep finding out that everyone is not like me. And maybe you know people, and you might be one of them, who don’t make much of an effort to recycle, who don’t take the time to understand the real problems and the real solutions to climate change and who don’t even compost? If you were to ask my Bible study women about me, I am pretty sure that they would mention my devotion to recycling. So yes, I do come to this book without needing to be convinced, but rather with a yearning to have all my good intentions line up with solid biblical thinking.

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Rachael CollinsComment
Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown

As a Christian, what do we want to be known for? Our love? Our faithfulness? Our integrity? All of those things are closely connected to our ability to be mature in relationships. We want to be more grown up than we were yesterday. That’s certainly the expected progression we see from New Testament writers like Peter: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit , hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

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Rachael CollinsComment
Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown

Are you a New Year’s resolutions kind of person? I am. I like taking stock and focusing on what’s important and what I’d like to change. I’m also old enough that I don’t stress myself out too much if some, or most of them get abandoned by now. If I can make one real change and it sticks, then that’s a win. Over the years I’ve been able to include running and reading the Bible more. And while I fall off the wagon with both at times, I always come back to them because they renew me.

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Rachael CollinsComment
Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown

All of us could do with a little more growing up, right? It’s easy to assent to that. But what if there’s a lot more work to do? What if you should be a lot more mature by now than you really are? If we were more self-aware, the theory goes, then no one would need therapy. So Brown asks, “How real is your estimation of your own maturity?”

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Rachael CollinsComment
Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown

What was the moment for you where you were just like a kid again on your summer holidays? I don’t mean in a gloriously liberated way, I mean in a totally immature way. Where you lost it and said things you shouldn’t have said. Or when you stayed silent and agreed to go along with a plan while inside you were seething. Or where you were confronted with the relationship that always stays in the same pattern of unbalance and awkwardness, leaving you frustrated that things aren’t different. What were the moments you wish you could snatch back? The words you wish you could reel in and undo. Or the words you long to have the courage to say. Keep those moments in mind then as we open this book together.

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Rachael CollinsComment
The Good Life in the Last Days by Mikey Lynch

As I sat in the pew, silently praying for one of our link missionaries along with the ex-missionary who was leading from the front, I was feeling fairly peaceful. I was finally coming to terms with the idea that my husband and I were just not called to the mission field or to full-time ministry, and that was ok. It didn’t mean we were second-rate Christians. After all, there are people right here in Sydney who need to hear the gospel, aren’t there? Our own families, to name a few. So God is calling us to stay here and raise our family and work at normal jobs. Fine. Good. The prayer finished, but before she left the front, the ex-missionary suddenly chimed “But you’ll never, never know if you never, never go!” In an instant, all my doubts & insecurities, guilt and discontentedness came flooding back in. I was a second-rate Christian after all!! Not brave enough, not passionate or sacrificial enough. Not really doing anything important.

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Rachael CollinsComment
The Good Life in the Last Days by Mikey Lynch

What a great time of year to be reading this book! January – after holidays have been enjoyed and we’re well and truly unwound and less scheduled. It’s a great opportunity to harness the optimism of a new year and make resolutions, plan for new ventures, re-think priorities. For our family, last year was pretty much a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of experience, so we’re trying hard to head into 2019 with more intentionality. But the task of navigating it all feels more than a bit overwhelming. How are we going to shape our time this year in a way that is God-honouring and is in line with what He is doing? What will discipling our kids look like this year? How can we do a better job of stewarding our resources? Should we step up and take on more ministry responsibilities at church? The list of possibilities goes on. Given the cacophony of questions that’s swirling around inside my mind, Mikey Lynch’s discussion of godly priorities is a calm, confident voice affirming that within the complexity of life, it is possible to live well in the ways that really matter. 

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Rachael CollinsComment
The Good Life in the Last Days by Mikey Lynch

What a great time of year to be reading this book! January – after holidays have been enjoyed and we’re well and truly unwound and less scheduled. It’s a great opportunity to harness the optimism of a new year and make resolutions, plan for new ventures, re-think priorities. For our family, last year was pretty much a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of experience, so we’re trying hard to head into 2019 with more intentionality. But the task of navigating it all feels more than a bit overwhelming. How are we going to shape our time this year in a way that is God-honouring and is in line with what He is doing? What will discipling our kids look like this year? How can we do a better job of stewarding our resources? Should we step up and take on more ministry responsibilities at church? The list of possibilities goes on. Given the cacophony of questions that’s swirling around inside my mind, Mikey Lynch’s discussion of godly priorities is a calm, confident voice affirming that within the complexity of life, it is possible to live well in the ways that really matter. 

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Rachael CollinsComment
The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings us Back To The Garden

It’s that time of year: Carols, gingerbread, wreath. Making the Christmas fudge twice because the first batch failed. I’ve got my Names Of Jesus Advent Calendar strung up on the stairs and my present pile has ebbed and flowed as I’ve been able to give away gifts ahead of December 25. But there’s still room and still time for a few more thoughtful purchases.

Here then, is something that I think is truly special for a child aged 3-12. A gift that ties it all together.

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Rachael CollinsComment
The Bible in Australia by Meredith Lake

Have you ever come across the term ‘theological ethics’, and found it mighty daunting? As though two words consuming so many syllables could only be the interest of scholars? Or perhaps this is the first time you have heard that phrase, which could be sparking a range of feelings about what’s to come– trepidation, intrigue, disinterest, or all of the above. But what if I told you that even if you’ve shied away from it, or never heard of it at all, if you’re someone who reads and seeks to understand the Bible regularly, you have probably engaged in theological ethics? Among many influences the Bible is shown to have in the third part of The Bible in Australia, one is in the capacity of everyday Christians to think ethically about the world around them and the decisions in front of them.

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Rachael CollinsComment