30+ years film making.
700+ gospel videos.
One central story.
Timeless words of hope.
July 15, 2020 The past three or so months have been just as busy as every but in a very different way. We've certainly saved on airfares with no international or interstate travel! The downside of this, of course, are the current restrictions on fellowship gatherings. We now talk and share Bible Study on Zoom, and connect during Sabbath livestreaming, but how we also reminisce of the times we embraced and shared a cuppa, face to face. Nevertheless, our commitment to ministry work in the name of Jesus Christ has been on an upward trajectory, preparing quality and timeless gospel messages that will propagate through the internet to its intended fertile ground. We recognise the grace and providence given to us to be able to embrace the times in which we live, with digital resources and the freedom still to proclaim Jesus from "the ends of the earth". We don't for a moment take this for granted. The world is on the cusp of totalitarian brutality - if the current rumblings are a correct echo of what's to come.
We're in the process of setting up a portable livestreaming station, separate from the more complex studio setup we currently have. This will enable on-location livestreams. Please bear with us this coming Sabbath as we trial this new setup from our hired venue; while we've worked extensively in video for more than two decades, we're now dedicating resources to acheiving better audio. After all, audio is really 50% of the multimedia experience!
On a theological level, "faith comes by hearing the word", and not necessarily via the visual. As Jesus said, even if someone were to rise from the dead (as spectacular as that might be), it still would be insufficient to convict an unbelieving heart.
Our work is not only to share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ throughout our local communities and thereby make and equip Jesus' disciples, but also strengthen, empower and encourage those already in Christ to embrace their God-given gifting in ministry work. Are you being equipped in the word of God? Are you willing to step out often in adversarial circumstances and share your testimony in the name of Jesus? Would you like to share, via video, a testimony, an item of special worship music, a children's Bible lesson, a scripture reading or short message? More than perhaps ever before, the LORD wants you to step out and up in faith, and join the workers building up the Body of Christ, the church.
June 21, 2020 You may have noticed in the past few months that we've been adding an audio feed to our most recent streamed videos. This enables those of us, for example, to just listen to the audio while commuting to work. The audio is in both mp3 and ogg formats, suitable for all current web browsers.
Our videos are hosted as dual embedded YouTube and HTML5 feeds. We're also livestreaming each Saturday morning. Of course, we welcome your suggestions or ideas as we continue to further improve our service to you.
June 3, 2020 After more than two months now “standing in the gap” with livestreaming Sabbath worship services, and with the greater awareness that the society around us is overtly becoming not “church friendly” in both legislation and practice, we can be comforted and compelled by Jesus’ prophetic words that the church He’s building is and will be in an environment where “the gates hell” are notoriously evident. Thus we stand leaning into the headwinds of the times we live in on the promise and the power of the Holy Spirit, discerning each moment and embracing each challenge with alacrity. We’ll continue livestreaming, in one form or another, and are patiently and faithfully working behind the scenes to advance His Kingdom and His righteousness. Media today plays a significant role in this.
When we started media streaming two decades ago, little did we realise the cacophony of dissonance emanating from tens of millions media sources. I recall someone twenty years ago saying, “One day, your video work will be swallowed up in ten thousand video channels.” It was hard to imagine back then. One way of navigating the journey ahead is to simply focus on the calling and then, in the words of Jordan B Peterson recently, “Shield yourself from bad news sources.”
May 9, 2020 What amazing youth God is raising up among us. During this time of COVID-19 uncertainty, we're seeing a resurgence of church growth and committment, increased efforts to keep in touch, and a surprising willingness to contribute to online church life. Today we livestreamed Sabbath worship services facilited by the youth for the youth - for the glory of God. It was a wonderful day of celebration and testimony, reading, song and prayer. Thank you to Hannah for her good work facilitating the service. Thank you Emma for your behind-the-scenes coordination. Thank you Joshua, Alissa, Louisa, Lillian, Jack, Robbie, Arabella, CzyWynBeth, Amali, Zipporah and Rebecca. If you missed today's service, you'll find it online here.
April 23, 2020 After more than a month's worth of quarantine, social distancing and ongoing political and international narrative over the COVID-19 virus, with churches closed, businesses struggling, a major airline collapse amidst a general air of uncertainty, we've seen the remarkable response of church communities coming together in the digital universe for livestreaming of weekly church services, Bible studies, devotionals and online fellowship.
When we began livestreaming Sabbath worship services in Mundaring, WA, some 15 months ago in order to cater for our family in Christ living in remote areas, little did we realise that livestreaming would soon become an essential service. Now with three cameras, lights, microphones and other streaming equipment, the back part of our home has been turned into a mini television studio. Take a look!
And so, every Sabbath at 11:00am we "go live", ministering in the lives of our faith community, not only throughout Australia, but overseas as well. Last week was our most successful and rivetting online service, benefitting from the contributions of many more people. This week via Zoom we started a Tuesday night Bible study. And this next Sabbath's behind-the-scenes work is again almost complete.
We're grateful to Hannah and Emma, who significantly contribute to our team's work. Hannah arrived here just before the coronavirus lock-down, and then being unable to return to Sydney, has been an invaluable help in our work here. Emma adeptly manages the livestreaming console. And Rebecca, as vocalist with keyboard as well as facilitating children's church completes the onsite team.
When Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it," I think he was also thinking about the difficult times we're now entering. For when the church is under pressure, it is then that she is at her best! Pandemic fear gives way to prolific faith.
February 27, 2020 We've been busily writing and preparing new content. When some sigh at the word "doctrine", other's attention perk up. We've been working on a doctrinal series, presented both as livestreamed sermons, as well as later edited in HD our studio. Explaining what we believe and why is important. Heartfelt testimony matters. Faith and hope matter. Rationale and insight matter. Good exegesis and apologetics are essential for those Spirit-led in those areas.
We also see the need for shorter, creatively produced video posts. The YouTube universe is growing, not only as a source of entertainment but also providing educational and thought-provoking content. While there is plenty of Christian content being uploaded daily, I believe we are positioned uniquely with decades of experience, close to 700 gospel films, and a heart for what Jesus is preparing throughout the world. What starts out with the pen, then streams via video, ends up in the heart.
January 31, 2020 When we say that over two decades we've produced some 678 gospel videos, the first curious question is where are they all hosted? Our old website unfortunately has hundreds of broken links, because in the years prior to YouTube, our WMV and RM files were often hosted on users' ISP server space. Many of those accounts have been closed, and very few people watch video content in Windows Media or Real Player formats.
There's another reason why we're not actively promoting them, and it's what we all recognise as the "cringe factor". The enthusiasm of those early years certainly shows, but as any disciple knows in their formative years, theirs was a work in progress. I recall eagerly submitting some video content to a television station in the early nineties, and their polite response was that it probably wouldn't translate well into television. I now understand why! While our old website is still partially functional (with lots of broken links), as time permits we're currently working to revive a selected few of our older videos. These videos are reprocessed into HTML5 format, and are now hosted on our archive page. In 2016 we rebuilt our website into the current responsive design to accommodate smartphone usage.
January 30, 2020 Some of the most interesting video content is found in the art of the interview. Everyone has a story, and sometimes story-telling reveal bombshells never expected. A grandmother contemplates cutting off her grandson's leg. A senior pastor weeps in joy. Twelve years as a Buddhist monk, to then amazingly find Christ. The tacit open up, often completely forgetting the camera.
During the year ahead, we're planning more interviews. Some will be studio filmed. Others, out on the streets with the gospel-pedalling buskers. You'll meet the shy and rescitent, as well as the loud and bombastic. Some will have one or more translators. But all have the same message. Jesus was, is and is coming! He's personally knowable. My life was never the same when I encountered Jesus!
There's nothing more enlivening than a pair of cinema cameras focused on two people engaged in conversation. It's testimony at its best!
January 29, 2020 Thank you to all who have given so generously in our time of need. When our main server went down a month or so ago, never would have we imagined the support and affirmation by so many and so quickly. Today, our gospel streaming server is more robust than it was before (you'll notice that our web pages load significantly faster.) Backup procedures more comprehensive. And, we thankful that most of our data was ultimately recovered.
Your generosity in the name of Jesus Christ has encouraged our ministry. We thank God for His provision and enablement. Because, we believe in the ministry of sharing the gospel near and far, and it seems that multimedia in today's age plays a significant role in this. Our message is Christ-centred. And our work ongoing.
One of our viewers called last week, and noting that our gospel videos were only watched by a relative few 50 or so people per video, he felt that the time would come when our online presence and work would go "viral" - in other words, many more would be confronted by Jesus Christ. Scripture foretells that oneday "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD!"
Thank you again for your support.
January 26, 2020 We're always pleasantly gladdened to hear the affirming responses from our viewers. The reason being is that the universal and timeless nature of the gospel resonates with those who have received and believed in Jesus Christ. This transformational experience results in a seeing and hearing that transcends our physical human limitations. The gospel is indeed good news. It's the best news we could ever hear. Indeed, it is LIFE. Whether someone lives on an isolated farm, or in a city apartment block, or whether they're just around the corner or somewhere far away on another continent speaking another language, the universal nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ has a powerful and reassuring meaning.
In this day and age, the multimedia connectivity we share via cable, satellite or wireless enables almost everyone to experience and benefit from our online work of sharing the gospel via video. I was in central Asia last month, where the availability of the smartphone was evident everywhere. The same is true for much of Africa, where more daily transactions are simply done with the convenience of a smartphone. This doesn't mean that connectivity is as good as it could be all the time, but it does generally mean greater collaboration and communication. Learning is possible in places it never was previously.
Our video content is in English, with just a few clips translated into Spanish. How we would love to now increase our reach with a team of translators. I recently wrote a pastoral letter in English which within a few days was manually translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili. If only we could do the same with our film work.
Perhaps the next miracle, beyond the AI of translation algorithms, is the simultaneous translation of an audio track into the viewer's native language. This was the miracle on the Day of Pentecost some 2000 years ago. The gospel proclaimed in Aramaic was heard in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Parthian, Hebrew and perhaps a host of other languages. The linguistic limitations placed on humanity at Babel was reversed at Pentecost. And, as the Kingdom of God grows, the visual nature of our mission work will only increase in importance, linguistic diversity and scope.
Jan 6, 2020 Silver linings exist sometimes where we just don't anticipate. When our server went down last month, we spent a harrowing couple of weeks feverishly working to get all services back up and running. This included purchasing new licenses, SSL certificates and software upgrades, which collectively ended quite expensive and not something we had budgeted for.
Services now have returned to normal, and in the process we believe our current infrastructure is even more robust than it was previously. We are grateful for the foresight some time ago to have purchased the Dell R710 with 120Gb RAM, iDRAC and other features, that hopefully will serve our ministry purposes over the foreseeable future. As for the old server, we've ordered replacement parts that were "burned out" in order to extract some of the MySQL databases that weren't backed up. Those replacement parts should arrive from the USA in mid-February.
We're grateful for the prayers and generous donations that helped offset those expenses incurred. We're grateful for the expertise available to remediate where we were a few weeks ago. And now, with a new calendar year ahead, we anticipate and are planning on more new interviews, livestreaming of services, onsite filming locally and internationally, as well as other special features.
Dec 26, 2019 We have been media streaming the good news message for some 22 years, and by God’s grace and providence, uploaded our 668th gospel film last week. Videos are embedded in YouTube and HTML5 formats, and range from short messages to longer 30-minute clips.
We thank God for his provision over the past two decades, and it is our prayer that many have been encouraged and strengthened in Christ. In fact, other organisations have expressed enthusiasm and appreciated our support and mentorship in video production so they too have a more vibrant online media presence.
But, of course, our work is not without its difficulties and challenges. A few days ago our primary domains server suffered catastrophic failure. Investigations are continuing, trying to determine whether a failure at the BIOS level was caused by hardware or hackers.
The result has been that our primary domains including message7.org, imc.cog7.org, cog7aus.com and many others were severely impacted. (We’ve also hosted other philanthropic domains including earthrounders.com, ozwitness.net, and Share and Care Community Services respository.) We apologise to you our viewers and partners in ministry for this outage.
Thus, it has taken us several days of deploying a newer Dell server, and progressively most services are returning to normal again. We bought this newer Dell server a few years ago with the intent of migrating our services to it – its current retail price is at over $10,000. So, I’m grateful we had this to fall back on – up until now it was utilised solely for video streaming. We still have a MySQL database backend to rebuild – as well as other freely hosted services.
In the past few days we have spent almost $1800 AUD on purchasing new licences and encrytption certificates. Because we believe in this service ministry, our goal is to raise $12,000 AUD, in order to remediate the debt that Messageweek Media Ministries currently has.
Would you like to make a donation to assist us at this time? We have just re-implemented our “donate” feature with the secure PayPal portal.
Dec 15, 2019 After more than 22 years of media ministry work, we would inevitably reach our 666th gospel film! Now for those of us familiar with the Biblical narrative, as well as all the associated hearsay, this is perhaps one way of approaching for this kind of subject matter.
Nov 22, 2019 After spending three weeks in the USA where we filmed several interviews, we now have a good back-log of content that now needs editing. The core theme of our USA filming was "Christ-centredness in Celebration", while several of the interviews filmed in Dallas focused on the work of the International Ministerial Congress of the Church of God (Seventh Day).
We've also just returned from assignment in the Philippines and Myanmar, where we also filmed several interviews, as well as general broll footage of various projects for an upcoming short film. Keep an eye out for some rivetting interviews, as well as a few pathos-filled and insightful conversations.
Several interviews filmed in Myanmar featured local villagers sharing their testimonies. Check back soon, and be inspired by their stories of faith in Jesus Christ.
Sept 6, 2019 This week we took delivery of the first printing of "La Esperanza en la Resurreccion" - Hope of the Resurrection translated into Spanish. Many thanks to Oscar Cervantes and Marcos Gonzales to for their dedicated translation work. Many thanks to all who graced us with their support enabling this latest printing. Thank you!
July 29, 2019 We are improving the content and quality of our film work, both in live-streaming and for studio work. We're currently uploading another studio re-recording of a sermon message shared last Sabbath. The service was live-streamed, and as usual we filmed the sermon in ProRes 422 quality for later editing and uploading. This week, however, we took a different tack by filming it in studio in a proprietary RAW format with our two BMD cinema cameras, and while the results are far from perfect, the quality is certainly an improvement over our previous DSLR-quality media. We're also pushing the boundaries beyond the normally more politely nuanced messages by taking note of Isaiah's commission as the Lord gave him for a people not dissimilar to ours. (Isaiah 58:1)
July 15, 2019 Last week we took delivery of the fifth edition of "Resurrection HOPE" (previously titled Hope of the Resurrection). This latest printing marks a significant milestone in our work of sharing the gospel in Jesus Christ - and of the glory that awaits those willing to embrace it. Since the fourth edition printing, we've been working on both the Spanish edition as well as improving the original English version. Is the book now finally complete? Well, that's an interesting question. The first writing began back in 2007, with the first edition published in 2010. Since then, it's been a growing experience, gradually adding new chapters, commissioning a professional proof reader, and further developing the various resurrection themes as described in the Holy Bible.
If you'd like a free copy, you may either download a PDF copy, or request a hard copy to be sent to you. While the book is completely free, short print runs do cost more per book, so any donation is always appreciated. We hope you are blessed in embracing the best news we could ever hear in Christ Jesus.
July 4, 2019 We've been dealing with some severe latency at our media streaming infrastructure. On further investigation we discovered that the faceless, nameless, invisible cyber crime world was hard at work with code injection, DoS and backdoor attacks. We apologise for this intermittent degradation in our services. New security measures are now in place that may assist with this. Tracing the IP addresses have led us to Canada, USA and China as being among the culprits. We apologise if you have been inconvenienced. Your prevailing prayers for protection from the malevolent unseen world, physical or spiritual, are appreciated.
June 16, 2019 We've just spent a successful weekend in Sydney, taking the opportunity to film at three locations on the Sydney harbour foreshore. The weather provided perfect lighting, and we hope that the script is thought provoking. However, the one disconcerting element we had to contend with was the harbour background noise.
Aircraft, boats, traffic, trains and a general cacophony that will probably be difficult to edit out. On one of our shoots, a little boy in a spiderman suit gleefully ran unwittingly in front of the camera.
We also filmed the sermon message shared at the first Church of God (Seventh Day) Sabbath service in Sydney. The new BMD 4k cinema camera worked very well, with its only criticism being its default battery life for on-location film work.
Keep an eye out for more new, upcoming gospel videos, as well as regular live-streaming of Sabbath services.
We've also recently taken delivery of a BMD WebPresenter, enabling better quality video livestreaming. Over the past few months, we've been livestreaming Sabbath worship services from Mundaring in Western Australia, and even though we've been using a low quality Samsung tablet, we've had several hundred people login each Sabbath, with many more during the following week. General feedback has been quite positive.
So, with some experimentation and a desire to improve the quality of our services, we'll continue livestreaming via Facebook and YouTube, in faith, that just one more person is encouraged and strengthened in Christ.
User feedback from live streaminghas been helpful, whether it's regarding audio quality, comments about pre-service chitchat, or appreciative about the content itself.
So join us on a Saturday morning at 10:30am Western Australia time. (At the moment, please choose the Facebook Livestreaming option, as the Youtube option is still being developed).
May 2019 We are currently refurbishing our film studio in Western Australia, adding another cinema camera, as well as working on better lighting. By God's grace and providence, we've just uploaded our 631st gospel video.
The cameras we've been using in our more recent films has been the Canon EOS 80D, the BMD Cinema Camera 2.5k, and we now have a new BMD Pocket Cinema Camera 4K on order. This will allow us to film each clip from multiple angles. Over the past two decades, we've used a variety of cameras, including some old VHS cameras, various prosumer video cameras including Canon and Sony, as well as a range of DSLRs. But, whether originally written on parchment, printed in ink, or conveyed by digital film, it's the same timeless message that centres on Jesus Christ.
We're all aware of the role that media plays in our lives. With the continual roll-out of better and faster connectivity throughout the world, and noting the windows of opportunity that still exist in the "free world", whether written on parchment or conveyed in bytes and bits, the follower of Christ has a commission and mandate to share the good news everywhere - to the ends of the earth.
We invite you to partner with us in this labour. Please pray that the LORD of the harvest would call and commission many more disciples, who with fervent vision and Christ-centred identity, embrace with diligence the work of supporting this and other ministries. We need capable media producers, presenters, researchers and those skilled in apologetics who can speak into this generation's greatest need. We need those who are prepared to sacrifice in the name of Jesus so that one more person may hear the good news. More than that, Jesus wants you to step up into his vision.
Someone once asked me, "Why all this effort into sharing the gospel?" I suppose it's a fair question, given declining church attendances throughout the Christian community amidst the rise of secularism. How would you answer? Perhaps mine would be: "Taste and see that the LORD is good!"