Monday, 15 December 2008

Finishing at Matthias Media

The recession is biting, and sadly I am taking a redundancy package and finishing work at Matthias Media on January 31.

Although the sales performance of the organization has been weak all year, and the board have kept us well informed, it nevertheless has come as a shock. November sales were worse than expected, and after an emergency board meeting some difficult decisions had to be taken, of which my redundancy is a part. I am quite confident from my discussions with Ian Carmichael and Tony Payne in particular that this was not a decision that anyone wanted to make, but in the providence of God this is a necessary result.

I can't help thinking about this as a very specific answer to prayer, indeed one way or another some of you may have been a part of this. As a direct consequence, despite the shock and surprise associated with the situation, one of my strongest responses to what has happened is a deep sense of thankfulness to God. That thankfulness extends beyond the immediate circumstances to include my 5 years of work at Matthias Media, where at every step of the way I've been treated with extraordinary grace and patience. Some of you know that I joined Matthias Media after some fairly major traumas to do with my previous employment, and at the time Matthias Media proved to be a direct instrument of God's grace to me and to our family. That has continued, up to and including the way my redundancy has been handled.

I am often struck by the fact that although human institutions and even friends may fall short, God never does. He has always shown grace, most especially through his Son Jesus Christ, but so also in the daily experiences of life, even the darkest moments. This moment now is not one of those, but it remains clear to me that God continues to shower his grace on us at this time.

Those of you who are in the habit of praying may like to ask God to continue to show his grace and reveal what he has in mind for us next. I haven't ruled out any obvious options, ranging from church planting through to parish ministry, perhaps even secular work. I teach a mean piano lesson I can tell you. But let me share a few Bible verses that I think God has been drawing to my attention recently, as I've worked through Romans. They are a theme of Matthias Media's ministry, and to some extent a theme of my life as well:

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, [1] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


-Romans 16:17-20

So much of Christian ministry is tied up with the refutation and opposing of false teachers, together with the encouragement of Christians to be wise, and the expectation that the Lord Jesus will certainly return and show grace to his children, whilst at the same time crushing Satan under our feet in fiery judgement. It is a ministry of grace; one that Matthias Media is a part of, and one which, by the grace of God, I am also, together with all who love the Lord Jesus.

I have more brilliant insights along those lines—brilliant I tell you—but I will save them for the Sola Panel and give you a hoy via this blog when the relevant post appears.

In the meantime, thanks be to God and to my friends and fellow workers (note to the reader—understand what this means!) at Matthias Media.

30 comments:

John Smuts said...

Sorry to hear this Gordon.

Emily and I will be praying for you and all your girls.

Times like this are hard but exciting. I wonder what God has got in store for you next? Hopefully it will include some ministry in the inner-west!

The Pook said...

Sorry to hear that Gordon, but as you intimate, God's Providence is never wrong or bad, but always for our ultimate good in Christ. May his strength, comfort and wisdom in the Holy Spirit be yours in this confusing time.

I don't suppose you'd like to come back to Tasmania and do some church planting here? We are looking for church planters in the Burnie and Prospect (Launceston) areas.

Lucy C said...

How about the mountainous 'outer west'?

Mikey Lynch said...

Thanks for the update Gordo, and I am sorry to hear about the big shock. Will remember you in our prayers.

Thanks for such an open but godly post.

thatgreatcity said...

Gordo, that sucks (yes I know, providence and all but I'm sorry to hear it)
What if all your facebook friends bought 20 copies of Encouragement?
Michael

Liz G said...

Dear Gordon
all our love and prayers at this difficult time - it is very hard on men especially to hear this type of news and before Christmas is not easy- indeed it is happening to many across our country - i know from your preaching and ministry to others at St Pauls that you have many gifts which may be of use in your next position - i always thought you were such a people person that you would not always be at the briefing although i know it has been an important time to be there for you all in the last 5 years.Love and prayers

Andrew Barry said...

I don't know what to say... I think Matthias Media is losing a 'great one'.

Jean said...

Sorry, Gordo, sad news - but I do pray that God uses this for his glory and your good, as he always does, and that he shows you the way forward, for the good of your family and the advance of the gospel. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your honesty and example of trust in God during a difficult time. Love to Fiona and the girls.

Mark said...

I'm sorry to hear this too Gordon. Praying for the future mate.

(I still haven't run into you in the MM office yet in almost 2 years. I guess there's still time!)

Nicole said...

We're sorry to hear it too...

and we'll be praying for you.

Dave and Nicole

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Gordon, I'm VERY sorry to hear this, Matthias Media will not be the same without you. While you're offering verses, let me give you one Brother: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Cor 15:58). Glad you're not moving to Africa. (Well not yet anyway!). Every blessing Trevor.

David McKay said...

I couldn't say better than what Jean said, Gordon.
Best wishes for your future ministry.

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

This is extremely sad news and I know the pain of being made redundant when it happened to me twice last year. I'll pray for you brother that you find something soon and that you and your family be strengthened in the Lord.

CraigS said...

Praying for you, bro...

Peter Kirsop said...

repeating what Mr Cairnley said. That chapter in 1 Cor is the best explanation of the foundation for our Hope I know and Paul finishes it off with that marvellous verse. WE have a Hope that (we believe) does not perish

Jonathan Hunt said...

Praying, Gordon. May God show you His providence in the coming days and weeks.

Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
So shall you, wondering, own His way,
How wise, how strong His hand!


Paul Gerhardt tr John Wesley

Timothy Wonil Lee said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I am starting to realise this global economic downturn is affecting much more people than I previously thought.

May God show His gracious power in sustaining you spiritually and providing physically through this time.

Anonymous said...

As one redundee to another, there's life after the big R! (Well I hope so anyway).

John Sandeman

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

I hope you go into parish ministry. I think you'll be good at it.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with you and the family.
God bless
Tim B

Anonymous said...

Dear Gordon

We were quite distressed when we read this news. These are tough times for you and your family.

Gordon, both of us have been encouraged immensely by your writings and DVD. We have particularly valued your insightful understanding of God’s word mixed with your obvious concern for people. It is one BIG loss for MM readers.

Please keep writing. I do think you make a rare contribution to spur on God’s people to live by His word with a wonderful mix of boldness and sensitivity to the human need.

We thank God for your faith in the Lord Jesus and the obvious shepherd heart you have for people. May God continue to give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, knowing the hope, the riches of his glorious inheritance and the immeasurable greatness of his power that he worked in Christ.

Will be praying for you guys. (We might have to become facebook fanatics!!)

Mark and Di

Pilgrim Penguin said...

I'm encouraged by your ongoing trust in God and commitment to his word. Will pray for you.

Reuben Kincaid said...

Just prayed for you and your family.

Yes, we live in interesting times.

Take care

Ben said...

Hey Gordo
been reading the MASG stuff and I would love to see you back in Melb. And don't worry about the piano lesson but we could do a mean violin/piano duo! Will pray that you can be at peace and not anxious as you watch God work out the next bit!

rd said...

praying.

Gordon Cheng said...

Hi everybody,

Just wanted to thank you all for your comments and prayers, here and on facebook.

We are going pretty well and there are some good possibilities for future employment out there.

GC

Anonymous said...

Dear Gordon

I am so sorry that you are entering a tough time and wanted to let you know that our home group had just decided to kick off '09 with your encouragement DVD package.

Now we can pray for you as a group as you minister to us on screen and in the books.

Will pray for continued trust and for God to now reveal His next plans for you...

Cathy

Luke said...

Hey Gordon,

May this is a sign that the inner Melbourne plant is a good idea after all! I hope and pray it you'll have work in Feb.

Radagast said...

Prayers from one of your readers...

Anonymous said...

Very late to see this -- I hope all's going well for you and the family.