The following available from Koorong Bookstore – Ph: 03 9262 7444 / coraliec@koorong.com.au

Michael Franzese

Blood CovenantMob boss Michael Franzese had it all – money, power, prestige. Then, he did the unthinkable. He quit the mob. In one of the most fascinating books ever written about today’s Mafia, Michael reveals the answers to the many mysteries surrounding his incredible life. Find out how and why he did what no one else managed to do – and live. Journey with Michael through a life defined by two blood covenants – the first bound him to the mob, the second set him free.

See this month’s Impact article.
Other Michael Franzese books available by order…
MF 2




MF 3






Koorong Blackburn news…
Coralie Casey advises: ‘We have Ally Finlay in store October 16 and Andy Vance playing jazz keyboard on November 8 so lots of fun things in the pipeline.’

Check this link: www.koorong.com

Rick Marschall
Johann Sebastian Bach...
Two-and-a-half centuries after his death, the complex life of composer Johann Sebastian Bach continues to fascinate. His colourful life was anchored in his belief that ‘music has been ordered by God’s Spirit’ – so much so that he began each composition by scrawling Jesu, juva (Jesus, help me) at the top of a blank page and concluded each with SDG (short for Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the glory). Through the eyes of noted music and culture writer Rick Marschall, the intensely personal yet boldly public faith that earned Bach the nickname ‘The Fifth Evangelist’ takes on fresh meaning.

From a survey of Bach’s family and its deep Christian roots to a behind-the-scenes look at how he crafted his masterpieces, this book paints a picture of an astonishing figure and his relationship with his God. Rick Marschall brings Bach’s enduring music and influence to the postmodern world and to all who would draw inspiration from his relentless pursuit of divinely ordained creativity. Link: RickMarschall@gmail.com See also this month’s Opinion.

Carey Nieuwhof

Leading Change
Leaders try to bring about change. And change almost always elicits opposition. So how do leaders navigate change, and the opposition to it, without giving up their dream for what could and should be? Carey Nieuwhof examines five strategies that can help church leaders engineer change:
1. Determine who is for (or against) the change and why.
2. Decide where to focus your attention.
3. Develop the questions that will set your course.
4. Learn to attack problems instead of people.
5. Persevere until the critical breakthrough.

Insightful and practical, Leading Change Without Losing It offers hope and encouragement for leaders, no matter where they serve in the church. Link: careynieuwhof.com See also this month’s Leadership.

Jim McClure

Grace Revisited.jpg
Theologian Dr Jim McClure cuts through the jargon so beloved by theologians enabling readers to rediscover the profound significance of the unavoidability of grace in salvation and in living the Christian life. Grace Revisited takes us on a journey back to ancient Greece to unearth the origins of the word and concept of the Greek word charis. With scholarly precision, this easy-to-read book shows that the commonly accepted definition of grace as ‘The unmerited favour of God’ falls short when applied to the New Testament.

Well researched book by an insightful author, Grace Revisited reveals grace as having a strong active meaning, not something that is passively received but rather as something that has a dynamic effect on those who receive it. Jim McClure shows that grace is like a many faceted diamond out of which shines a greater understanding of the great God we worship. Normally $35 but obtainable from the author for $25 (plus postage). Link: jbmcclure@hotmail.com

See this month’s Ask Dr Jim for another of the author’s timely articles.


The following available from Koorong Bookstore – Ph: 03 9262 7444. Source: coraliec@koorong.com.au


No Other NameThe album’s standout songs include the title track, No Other Name, which captures Hillsong Church’s current season of building on the foundations of the past three decades and ‘pioneering again’ while continuing to lift up the one it all began with, Jesus. This I Believe is a modern day expression of the statements of belief outlined in the ancient Apostles’ Creed. These are foundational truths that have unified Christians across the globe for centuries and continue to do so today.

In April Hillsong Church took over Times Square’s digital billboards proudly declaring the name of Jesus before thousands of tourists and onlookers. Instead of flashing the usual ads, news reports or the day’s market results, 21 digital screens played for an hour a looped video comprised of just a few frames flashing repeatedly: Jesus and No Other Name. More than just songs, the songs on No Other Name give voice to individuals and churches across the earth, unifying them in a declaration of worship that is lifted to and for no other name but Jesus. (more…)


Dick Harding

Right Turns book


A great new resource for lead pastors – The 30 Navigational Decisions Leading Pastors Make In Growing the Church.

The Hardy Group’s Dick Hardy challenges ‘Ever wonder why some churches are declining and others are not? What characteristics do pastors of larger, growing churches possess? At The Hardy Group we believe that church doesn’t have to be what it always has been. And we believe you can lead at an entirely new level. Right Turns serves as a guide to get you there.’
Sale price: US $12.95 (normally $14.95) plus postage. Link:http://www.thehardygroup.org (more…)



Dan Wooding with novels





See News for listing of this award winning author’s current re-releases.


The following available from Koorong Bookstore – Ph: 03 9262 7444.
Source: coraliec AT koorong.com.au 

Francine Rivers

Bridge to Haven
To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.



Louie Giglio

Passion Talk Series
This 4-DVD set brings together four inspiring talks from Louie Giglio’s enormously popular Passion Talk Series: Indescribable, How Great Is Our God, Symphony (I Lift My Hands), and the all new message, Moved By Mercy. Each talk is filled with wonder and personal challenge, and offers an incredible picture of God’s grace!




Jim McClure

Grace Revisited.jpg

Bible scholar Dr Jim McClure cuts through the jargon so beloved by theologians enabling readers to rediscover the profound significance of the unavoidability of grace in salvation and in living the Christian life. Grace Revisited takes us on a journey back to ancient Greece to unearth the origins of the word and concept of the Greek word charis. (more…)

Not Home Yet

There’s a story that’s been around from our Sunday school days an unsourced missionary homecoming story that has been retold over the years by many encouragers in various ways. But basically it goes something like this.
A couple were returning to the States to retire after toiling for years in what we kids had been told was ‘Darkest Africa.’ Not been over-successful in their missionary service they were unknowns compared to such ‘greats’ as Dr David Livingstone. But they’d been faithful to their calling and had laboured on toiling hard.
Now they were both suffering from ill-health, defeated mentally and spiritually and, having neither finance nor pension, felt so exhausted, uneasy and discouraged.
Suddenly, they had the biggest surprise. When the ship that had carried them from Africa docked and they were coming down the gangway, they observed a large band playing heartily. The mayor, city dignitaries and crowds were gathered in greeting.

‘Oh, we’re being recognised,’ exclaimed the tired missionary to his wife, ‘and we thought no one knew us, no one cared.’
His delight was immediately shattered as the truth dawned and more disappointment swept over him crushingly.

The welcoming homecoming turned out to be for the man who smilingly passed by in front of them – President Teddy Roosevelt, returning from one of his safaris! No one paid any attention to the returning missionaries. 

Disappointed the old missionary commented to his wife, ‘We’ve given our lives in faithful service for God all these many years and nobody cares about us.’ 
His wife sought to encourage him not to feel that way, but despondently he replied, ‘Can’t help it. It just isn’t right.’ 
Quietly they disembarked unnoticed, disappeared in the crowd, and found a cheap unit. That night the man’s spirit broke. He admitted, ‘I can’t take this anymore. God isn’t treating us fairly.’ 
Wisely his loving wife suggested, ‘Why don’t you go quietly into the bedroom and tell the Lord – direct?’ 
Dragging himself off, he did so. It was only a short time later that he reappeared, but his expression was completely different. ‘What happened?’ asked his surprised wife. ‘You’re so at ease, so at peace.’
‘I told God how bitter I was that someone else received such a tremendous homecoming, that no one met nor knew us or welcomed us home. Suddenly I sensed the Lord putting his hand on my shoulder and saying quietly but simply: “You’re not home yet!”’ 
Discouragement and disappointment are facts of life. They can hit anyone at any time, even Christians. Those in church ministry especially can get slammed every now and then by unthinking and uncaring people. Particularly by our arch-enemy, Satan. We all need caring friends, encouraging reminders and to stay humble.
We also need to realise than we’re not alone in such experiences. Recalling scriptures such as Paul’s advice is so helpful: ‘Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns’ (Philippians 4:6 Message).
In the previous chapter (v12 MKJV), he writes about the need to press forward despite everything: ‘I am pressing on, if I may lay hold of that for which I also was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus.’ 
In chapter 3: verses14-17 (Message), Paul shares encouragingly: ‘I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal.’


In all of life, we need to be on the right track, stick to our destiny and keep pressing forward. Christians especially are called to the greatest commission of all … faithfully serving the master, Jesus, despite every disappointment and discouragement that comes along.
May we be determined to being faithful until we hear the personal welcome greeting from the one who set an outstanding example by pressing on to win the greatest prize of all on our behalf…salvation for all humankind. 
And what a welcome that will be as Jesus exclaims with delight: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!’  (Matt. 25:21). 

Only then will it all be over and only then will we have really arrived home.

Being Creative

Recently we received a link called Alarm Clock with an intriguing comment: ‘Be careful during sleeping!’

Enjoy watching it; you’ll get the point very quickly. It’s quite short so you’ll wise up promptly amid some laughing. It’s very creatively funny and led us to share the following.
For many years we’ve heard Christians complain of too much hype in churches, extensive showiness, excessive entertaining but no any real biblical teaching or Holy Spirit presence.
The reality is twofold: We doneed the presence of the miracle working Spirit and ministers and departmental leaders need to be with-it in respect of preaching and teaching. Leaders must be awake to what is really going on and not be expecting congregations, especially children to understand deep matters, that it’s the ministers’ calling to study, search out and make plain in meaningful, creative ways.
This is particularly so in children’s ministry. Kids today are so engrossed with incredible, ever-developing technology – computers, games, iPods, tablets and such. We need to capture their imagination! And to ensure that they really know God and his ways requires that we are open to every available attention-grabbing means of reaching them.
Early days of personal creativity
My (Robert) own ministry really began decades ago in what our church called Junior Prayer/Bible Study Nights. My development led to spending most nights away travelling elsewhere around various little rented halls. The purpose was to share Jesus with hundreds of unchurched kids that parents ‘were delighted to have out of home for a while.’
But, willing as I was, there was neither financial support nor, more especially, available good material. I resorted to creating my own stories and drawing coloured pictures of characters in action. No computers back then, never mind PowerPoint facilities. I longed for creative material.
How times have changed!
Ample materials today
Today many creative children’s leaders are led by the Spirit to boldly present Jesus to kids using whatever means are available. To encourage kids to know the word of God, to stand on it and also to know the Holy Spirit and move in the gifts.
Wise ministries encourage other leaders of kids’ ministries to be similarly creative. After all, the God we serve is the all-creative one but for too long churches have put up with second best or little creativity while all the time kids are mesmerised and engrossed daily in their techno world.
Absence of quality material was a challenge Maureen’s sister and her husband, Dorothy and Ken Gardiner, Life4Kids (life4kids@bigfoot.com.au) actively pursued for years, creating great teaching material, especially their outstanding, unique High Five Divorce for Kids Program.
Similarly our good friend, Becky Fisher, Kids in Ministry International kidsinministry@yahoo.com has worked creatively and apostolically among even unchurched children, seeing them anointed in the Spirit and then moving in the gifts.
God is moving on and through children today and wise leaders are locating or creating great material to teach kids principles from his word.
Grabbing attention
Imagine our delight recently one Sunday, when free from our itinerant ministry and able to attend our base church, Waterfront Christian Church, Geelong we observed the children’s ministry leader, Robyn Heyhorn, introduce two ‘team members.’
Robyn announced, ‘We teach the children how to hear God’s voice and know it above all others.  They need to hear from God for themselves. These are exciting times and we’re teaching our kids how to pray for victory in their lives. We ensure the children really know that he wants to speak to them and that they can expect he will. And he does – and then they share what God said to them or maybe a picture he has given.’
Then up to the platform came a recognisable figure, not unlike little like the famous Inspector Clouseau. As you can imagine, the kids were thrilled – and so were we adults!

‘Detective McClure’

Robyn explained, ‘Detective McClureis a great detective so grounded in the word of God that his desire is to teach children to be seekers of the truth and, in looking for solutions, will keep pointing them back to God’s word.’

As the kids looked on intrigued she added, ‘Detective McClure will also reinforce that the Bible has the ability to solve every problem. He’ll help equip you to stand on the word. He’ll come into Kids’ Church unexpectedly and unannounced, interacting with you all with “Why?” questions.
A right ‘Wally’!
Suddenly up popped a most mischievous black sheep raising laughter as he fooled around a bit.
Robyn told everyone: ‘Although Wally can be a bit naughty and make the children laugh, being open to instruction he can also teach them respect and how to adopt a learning style. They’ll learn and grow alongside Wally as he’ll have understanding at the same level as theirs.’ 
All kids love intrigue, being inquisitive, fun and laughter. Thus ingenious creativity such as Detective McClure and Wally are welcome additions to any kids’ ministry team.
Aware how important children’s ministry is in every church, we encourage every children’s ministry leader to prayerfully consider using whatever other up-to-date intriguing facilities God leads them to that will ensure our kids grow in God.

And…getting back to the alarm clock: Let’s not get cut out sleeping! We all need to be aware of what’s going down today and where adults are at, let alone kids. Preachers too must be down-to-earth as we present biblical truths to people who have never been to church as well as to church attenders.

Connecting – out there!

When Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became ‘the new pope’ he immediately hit the headlines…Google, newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, even inclusion in a new book on the ancient St Malachy papal prophecies.
Not only is this pontiff the first Latin American and Jesuit in modern times to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics but many highlights quickly circulated about him. For example, he…
+ Declines $10,000 a night hotel rooms/ popemobile usage, wanting freedom to get out and meet ‘the people’
+ Broke tradition, asking some 150,000 people to pray for him
+ Faces controversy; opposes same-sex marriage
and abortion
+ Wanting to honour that great servant to the poor and destitute, he chose ‘Francis’ (but without number 2 tacked on!). 
Blending with ordinary people
Here’s a pope who Is humble, authentic, credible and appears, in some ways, to be just a normal guy. Watching the news regarding this new pope, immediately brought to mind two things. One was that delightful underrated, overlooked 1985 Tom Conti movie, Saving Grace

It’s a classic that asks the question, ‘Have you seen the pope lately?’ Why? Because he’s hit the streets and disappeared!
A fictional, reluctant ‘Pope Leo XIV’ grows tired of the politics and insularity of his new position. Taking a few quiet moments in the open air, he puts his head back to feel the raindrops on his face: But he’s promptly ushered inside to bankers, politicians, and back-to-back blessings of politicos. But one day, Leo slips out a back gate and blends in with soccer crowds.
He ends up in a troubled Italian village and, incognito, sets out to make a difference. Asked his name, Leo says ‘Francesco.’ And indeed there is something of St Francis in the way this gentle man sets aside the trappings of wealth and power to join the townspeople in their poverty and toil.
More importantly…Jesus who came from heaven
But the other thing that struck me at the same time was this: The reality of Jesus Christ! 

Although the Son of God he willingly allowed himself to be made lower than angels (Heb. 2:9), left the splendour of the heavenly throne room, not the Holy See, to become the humble servant of this world’s troubled, poor, destitute, fearful and sick. 
Why? He wanted to move ‘out there’ and meet ordinary people, bringing blessings and become our Saviour and greatest friend.  And the head of the newfound church.
Matthew 20:28 Mge spells out this aspect of Jesus’ humility and people’s servant heart: ‘That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served – and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.’
‘Serve’ is diakononeo, sometimes translated ‘minister’ but with the thought of waiting on menially. No wonder his ministry on earth is considered that of the servant king. He didn’t take on the name Joseph, his respected and supposed father, but that of ‘Jesus’ for he would ‘save his people from their sins’ (Matt. 1:21). Verse 23 recognises the Isaiah 7:14 prophecy about his supernatural birth: ‘Call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.’
Out there – among the people
Scripture depicts Jesus as the people’s friend. He was a marketplace minister
who spent about a third of his ministry ‘out there’ not locked within the walls of some worship centre. 
In doing so he moved where the rubber hits the road. He felt people’s heartaches, hurts, burdensome governmental oppression, religious confusion, their wondering if God had forgotten them.  He touched their lives with good news, hope, healings, much comfort and wise, balanced advice and shared truths from God’s word.
Mark 6:56 Mge reads, ‘Wherever he went, village or town or countryside crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat – that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.’
‘Marketplace’ is the Greek word agorah, a town square. It comes from a base meaning to gather, to waken from disease, death, ruin. If you like…where people came together expecting something good – blessings just as in this Mark scripture.
Be an influencer
An important theme that blogs such as ours  stress again and again, is that all Christians carry the responsibility of reaching the unreached. That it’s not enough to attend church, tithe, worship God, individually experience the Holy Spirit and be personally blessed every week.
The church we attend when not ministering around, has a sign over an exit door which dramatically states, ‘You are now entering the mission field!’ How true. The mission field is wherever we go in the marketplace of life…school, college, uni, supermarket, café, restaurant, sports ground, hospital. Wherever we meet people.
Acts 17:12 describes some new Christians as ‘women and men of influence.’ This is what Jesus was – an influencer, one who liked to be among God’s creation encouraging them when opportunities arose…such as simply requesting a drink, a meal or miraculously instigating healings or sharing an uplifting word.
Personal example
Easter Saturday is regarded by Christians as a spiritually wasted day. Good Friday is over, Resurrection Sunday awaits and only a secular Saturday lies between. 
I (Robert) visited my local library to return DVDs and discovered only the emergency chute was open and it was over-full! As I endeavoured to push further in the several books, CDs and DVDs that other borrowers had jammed into the blocked opening, an out-of-town stranger arrived with the same errand. 
We chatted, became friends and I had the joy of influencing him, not in Sunday church, but ‘out there’ in the street and leading him to Christ. And praying over him for a healing. Then another lady needing help came along – another God-given opportunity. It was not a wasted Saturday after all! 
May we all be marketplace Christians, not missing opportunities to share the good news.


We like to be up-to-date, keeping an ear open to the Holy Spirit for his leadings and an eye on what is going on in church life and with different Christians. This comes from having a heart to obey God, being aware of the times (church and world) and encouraging Christians to enjoy the gift of life and serve their God.

Three March eye-opening matters caught our eye …

1. Reaching the ‘nones’
LifeWay Research’s Ed Stetzer (
www.edstetzer.com/) penned an insightful article – 5 Things the Church Will Face in the Next 10 Years.

Dr Stetzer highlights matters essential to expanding the church in this age of self-centredness. But his number four focus – Evangelism in the Age of the Nones (No religion/church affiliation) – really got our attention.

It reads: ‘We are now increasingly facing what I have called a post-seeker context. This does not mean that seekers no longer exist. The Spirit is always at work in the hearts of people. But churches that once focused their energies and efforts toward targeting seekers are finding it more difficult to appeal to a constituency with little to no religious memory.’

He goes on: ‘Churches will have to find new ways to lead their people to reach out to their neighbours – not just attractional evangelism, but incarnational evangelism, as well – being, doing and telling good news where we live and work.

2. Face-to-face evangelism
The immediate success of
My Hope America with Billy Graham, a crusade with a difference. At least 10.2 million people saved to date!

This isn’t one ‘final-tour’ America-wide crusade by the 94-year-old evangelist. Its success is due to fresh thinking (actually first church thinking!) and a passion for souls. It’s been noted that ‘one-on-one conversationsare the root of this relationship evangelism outreach.’

Franklin Graham commented, ‘My father is as burdened today about the souls of men and women as he has been at any time in his life.’ Dr Graham said: ‘I think it is going to be a tremendous time of evangelism. That the Lord is going to use it mightily. I’ve been praying that we might have a spiritual awakening.’

Coincidently we attended a particular church’s beautiful new building launch this month. 

It was encouraging to hear the observations of the visionary visiting minister, still highly respected in his senior years. ‘This church has every reason to rejoice and celebrate the Lord’s honouring of your faithfulness and commitment in enabling the reality of this great building,’ he pointed out.

But, he added, the building in itself isn’t the church, that the real church is ‘out there’ and that church people must share with and lead the unsaved to Christ, and then get them into the building.

This is the challenge to every Christian. Yes, it’s great to have a building, but such will become empty if there isn’t more one-on-one, face-to-face sharing of the gospel of Christ ‘out there.’

3. Evin prison

Two stories from ASSIST News (www.assistnews.net) gripped us powerfully…

‘Our nightmare isn’t over!’ recounts how American citizen Saeed Abedini willingly returned to his native Iran nine months ago to continue work on building an orphanage. Revolutionary guards took the pastor to the notorious Evin prison. This is where inmates are routinely tortured, and hanging executions are swift and sudden.

Naghmeh, his distressed wife, writes: ‘Saeed was [later] given his eight-year sentence because of his Christian faith. I know deep in my heart that unless we speak out and fight for him, Saeed might not survive the eight years in that horrific prison, especially because he continues to face continued abuse and death threats.’ (See #SaveSaeedhttp://savesaeed.org/ )

We have the privilege of ministering to middle-easterners now committed Christians. They tell how God’s grace enabled them to leave their homelands, settle here and enjoy our religious freedom. Some tell of the perils Christian relatives back home face, that they are willing to go back to share Jesus and encouragements.

In view of what they’ve told us and what we pick up from ASSIST reports, we find it amazing that Pastor Saeed was so brave, so bold, to trust his Lord and return to help little children!

Sentenced to death, miraculously freed is the incredible report of Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, two young ladies who also willingly returned to their homeland. Their God-given mission was to covertly distribute Farsi New Testaments and start two secret house churches.

They too were caught, imprisoned at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and sentenced to death for spreading Christianity. Amazingly, instead of succumbing to fear and the interrogation threats, these young Christians, committed to Christ, chose to take the dangerous step of sharing their faith inside that very gaol. Evin prison became their church!

Through God’s grace and intercessory prayers of Christians worldwide, charges were dropped; they were released in 2009 and migrated to Atlanta.

What gripped us here too is this: These two young people were so committed to Jesus’ great commission to share his good news with their own people, at the risk of their own lives, they dared to move into danger – to where promoting Christianity is a capital crime and official charges ‘of apostasy, anti-government activity, and blasphemy’ means sentence of execution by hanging.

Australia – the lucky country
Rereading these two stories, the willingness and commitment of young Christians to endanger themselves in sharing the gospel,we couldn’t help but recall an old truth: So many Christians in this land of (currently!) religious freedom just haven’t got a clue what it is to be persecuted for Jesus!

So many moan and groan when pastors call for commitment to growth projects, to connecting with the unsaved and unchurched. Worse, we rarely consider praying for ‘our Christian family’ in restricted nations such as the Middle East and Asia. Yet for decades these brethren have prayed for us!

Regarding the outstanding Billy Graham outreach, how many realise that face-to-face, one-on-one witnessing is the secret to connecting with non-Christians, preparing the way so the Spirit can lead them to Christ.
As for the ‘Nones’… we need to be Jesus in our locales, marketplaces, schools and such. Active Christians not afraid to move in the Spirit’s supernatural …and as Dr Stetzer put it – being, doing and telling good news where we live and work.’