Category Archives: Video clips

What’s it like to study at Sydney Missionary Bible College?

A few weeks ago, the promo team at Sydney Missionary Bible College (where I’m currently studying) interviewed several students about our college experience. If you’re interested, here’s my interview (I’ve included a written version of it after the break below). Better yet, I’d encourage you to hear from several college friends:

  • Kim Patterson – “I’m hoping to go into full-time ministry in Ireland, and I wanted to be further equipped and trained to do that well.”
  • Matt Sharpe – “If you asked me five years ago if you’d be at Bible College, I would have said: ‘No way!'”
  • Emma Bott – “Being able to read the Bible in its original languages has been a joyous experience…”
  • Alex Prentice – “I’m really enjoying Greek… which I probably shouldn’t say too loudly!”
  • Dave Bott – “In a way I didn’t want to come to Bible College, because it meant leaving friends and family behind, and that was scary!”
  • Dorothea Amann – “I thought Bible College is for someone who’s really certain to be a pastor or missionary… so probably not for me!”
  • James Peters – “I had put God into a pretty tight neat little box that I thought I could understand and control, and coming to college has helped me to understand how very little I know about our great God.”
  • Joel Abraham – “One of the best things is learning alongside so many different people from different church backgrounds and cultures.”
  • Julian Baalbergen – “I love how it’s not about the numbers or scores on your essays and exams, but it’s about how your heart is being developed and changed to be more Christlike…”

Praise God for raising up all these labourers for the Harvest!

Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you ended up at SMBC.

My name is William, and I’m here at SMBC with my wife Cheryl and our three children. We moved here last year to study at SMBC. Previously I was a medical writer, and also helping out as an intern at my church back home in Auckland, New Zealand. Through that process, and being able to do ministry alongside my pastor, watching him preach and teach and visit people, I had a growing conviction that I’d love to be better at applying, teaching and sharing the Word with others in a local church setting. He encouraged us to consider SMBC. We also knew a couple of graduates whose love for Jesus and knowledge of the Word seemed really compelling for us. I remember observing one of them and thinking, “I want to be more like that person.” That’s a big part of why we decided to come to SMBC.

How have you found life at college?

We moved here last year (January 2017), and it was a bit of a culture shock – lots of people with Australian accents! The scariest thing is when you start picking up some of their little tweaks (e.g. shortening words and phrases). That’s been a bit of a challenge, but we’ve also gained some great friendships as well. This really is an international community we’ve come into. We’ve loved meeting students and their families from places like Pakistan, Austria, Indonesia (Ireland, Ecuador, Germany, Tanzania, Singapore, Malaysia, Vanuatu) – whereever in the world! It’s great being reminded that God’s workers are being sent all around the world with His glorious gospel.

What’s it like to undertake theological studies at SMBC?

It’s a great environment to study in. Things I’ve really enjoyed include:

  • Time together – in the Word, starting and ending the week with chapels, Principals Hour in the middle of the week, and during morning tea and lunch to talk about what we’ve been learning in class
  • A focus on preaching – I love how everyone who studies full-time learns how to preach, to understand God’s Word to us and apply it for a world who needs it
  • Being stretched with theology – we just spent three hours thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit, and I don’t know if I’ve ever had to work my brain so hard!
  • Lecturers as role models – they model not just head knowledge but also apply it to their hearts. For example, I loved how Dave this morning invited us into his devotional life as he taught us about the Holy Spirit. All the lecturers here don’t want to just tell you things, but they also want to get into your lives. They share the gospel, but their lives also (1 Thess 2:8).
  • A focus on global missions – every week during lecturers, we’re challenged by missionaries from all over the world, who give us a global picture of what God’s doing in the world, and how we can be a part of it. When you’re from the ends of the earth (NZ), you don’t tend to think about much more than the ends of the earth. So it’s been refreshing and challenging to have our eyes opened to what God’s doing – and to be challenged by my lack of passion and zeal for global missions as well. This means that, after college, whatever I do needs to have global missions in mind, and a global view of what God’s doing.

What are your plans after college?

Our national anthem ends with the line: “God defend New Zealand”. I feel like that’s part of our call – we’d like to go back and help to defend it with the gospel. New Zealand is a more liberal and secular country than we’ve expected, and is changing quickly – even during the time we’ve been away. We’ve seen changes in society that reveal a lack of the gospel, and a need for people to find their true satisfaction and life in Jesus. We don’t know what that looks like yet, but we’d love to be part of the many men and women who want to give their lives to defending the gospel in New Zealand.


Video: Jesus, Thank You (Chinese/Mandarin cover)

Last month I had the privilege of leading gathered worship for both our church and EFC, a Mandarin-speaking congregation that meet in our church building on Sunday afternoons.

To accommodate both languages, I spent some time searching for translations to good gospel-centred songs that we could sing together. In the end, it was such a delight to learn and sing songs like Before the Throne of God Above, How Great Thou Art, In Christ Alone and Blessed Be Your Name in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

After the service, learned that an older sister (in Christ) was profoundly moved by the truths of the gospel and being able to sing them in her native Mandarin tongue. In particular, it was a real delight to respond to a time of remembering the Lord’s Table with the song Jesus, Thank You by Pat Sczebel (song story here).

So to encourage myself, her and others to sing of God’s marvellous provision of grace through Christ, I made a quick recording of Jesus Thank You, sung in Chinese:

The response I got today from her was:

“Thank you so much. Sending this so so beautiful song in Chinese… Praise the Lord.”

Here are the lyrics (in English):

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

© 2003 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

The words are so simple yet profound – to meditate on the fact that I was once an enemy of God, but now am seated at His table draws much thankfulness!

You can find other translations of this wonderful song on the Sovereign Grace Music website (e.g. Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese).

Oh, that the world would want to sing: “Jesus, thank you!”

Our Only Hope Is You

This stripped-down arrangement is a gem from Sovereign Grace Music’s latest album, “Grace Has Come”:

The song is loosely based on Romans 3:9-26, and this arrangement is sung beautifully with Devon Kauflin on lead vocal.

My favourite lines come in the bridge (accompanied with a lift in the melody):

The bridges we had burned You have restored
You gave us hope when there was none before
You paid the debt that we could not afford
And cast away our guilt forevermore

On his blog, Bob Kauflin shares a bit of background behind producing acoustic arrangements to help smaller churches (e.g. ours!) sing and introduce their songs for gathered worship.

You can also download the mp3 for this arrangement for free here.


How wonderful the Father’s love for us!

How wonderful the Father’s love for us!

How has the sinner been forgiven
How has the rebel been made clean
Or blinded eyes been made to see
How have the orphans been adopted
Who hated Your love and ran from grace
Despised and rejected all Your ways

How wonderful the Father’s love
The Father’s love for us
That He would send His only Son
To come and rescue us
He has saved us, called us blameless
Guides us now and will sustain us
Oh how wonderful the Father’s love

Your mercy floods our lives with kindness
Your grace has colored all we see
And You have promised not to leave
You freely give Your Spirit to us
So we can be sure we’re sons of God
And rest in the hope of what’s to come

Though sufferings may fill our lives
We’re confident we’re heirs with Christ
And so we cry, “Abba, Father”

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

Happy Father’s Day all you dads 🙂

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!” – 1 John 3:1


Video: Only Your Blood is Enough (Ukulele Cover)

Missed church with HBC yesterday due to being on lockdown from opthalmic shingles. I feel fine but the doctor (and Cheryl) both suggest not infecting other unsuspecting people with the chicken pox virus

So instead of gathered worship, we sang a few hymns and I read some Valley of Vision, then worked out this song for our family hymnal.

Sojourn Music’s Neil Robins wrote the words and music, and it’s adapted from Isaac Watt’s Psalm 51 Part 2 From Sojourn’s “Over the Grave” album.

From the Sojourn Music blog:

Neil Robins, who also produced, sang and played a variety of instruments on Over The Grave, wrote “Only Your Blood Is Enough,” adapted from “Psalm 51, Part 2″ by Isaac Watts [you can read the original here]… It’s a fun song to sing, with a bridge that gives both guys and gals a cool part to sing — something we don’t often do with songs in Sojourn. Beyond that, it’s simply a great, meaty song about the cross of Christ — only His blood is enough to cover our sin. As Mike Cosper told Sojourn’s Dominic Gratto, in an interview for our quarterly news journal Travelogue:

“I don’t have a favorite song (on the album) but I have a favorite lyric. It’s from the song “Only Your Blood Is Enough.” The lyric is, “no bleeding bird, no bleeding beast, no hyssop branch, no priest, no running brook, no flood, no sea can wash away this stain from me.” It comes from Psalm 51 where the psalmist says that if God had desired a sacrifice, He would have brought it.

When we were recording that song, I told Neil that, because of the way the song is mixed, it would make a great pop song. Apart from the lyrics about a “bleeding bird” and “bleeding beast,” I could really see Christian radio stations picking it up — but they don’t want to play songs about bleeding beasts. It’s a little too graphic for them, but I think it communicates a really powerful message.

I also like how this song draws out the ideas that King David originally wrote (original and actual sin, atonement from God Himself, regeneration of the heart). Not many worship songs help point out the futility of our own sacrifices, and Psalm 51’s words (though a bit gross sounding to our ears, bleeding beasts etc.) drive home the point that it’s only God’s own blood that can pay for my sins. Played it down at F (from G, which is a bit high for me)


I am ashamed, conceived in sin, I’ve always been.
Born in a world where Adam’s fall corrupts us.
Rooted is the seed of death in life’s first breath.
The law demands a perfect heart, but I’m defiled in every part

For only Your blood is enough to cover my sin
Only Your blood is enough to cover me

All this guilt disturbs my peace; I find no release.
Who will save me from my crime? I’m helpless.
Behold, I fall before Your face in need of grace.
So speak to me in a gentle voice, for in Your mercies I rejoice.

For only Your blood is enough to cover my sin
Only Your blood is enough to cover me

Lord, create my heart anew (Father, come and make us wise)
Only You are pure and true (Lead us away from our demise)
Lord, You are the remedy (For only your blood can set us free)

For only Your blood can set us free; only Your blood can set us free

No bleeding bird, no bleeding beast
No hyssop branch, no priest,
No running brook, no flood, no sea
Can wash away this stain from me

For only Your blood is enough to cover my sin
For only Your blood is enough to cover me

Words by Isaac Watts and Neil Robins
Music by Neil Robins, 2009

If you’re interested, this is Sojourn’s much more polished recording: