Bishop John Taylor Smith at the War Office, 1915

War, wounds and words of life

Bishop John Taylor Smith was the Chaplain General to the British Forces during the First World War. He was often to be found at the front line talking to officers and their men. He wanted to understand the conditions in which they lived, fought and died.

Taylor Smith was deeply concerned for the spiritual and moral welfare of soldiers, both in the training camps and at the front. “His job”, writes his biographer, “was to see that no man went into the trenches without having close at hand some word which would help him in the hour of danger and in the close approach of death…”. His chief question to prospective chaplains was: “What would you say to a man fatally wounded but conscious, and with only ten minutes to live?”

Bishop John Taylor Smith at the War Office, 1915

Bishop John Taylor Smith at the War Office, 1915

Bishop Taylor Smith had been a member of the council of the Scripture Gift Mission (SGM) since 1910, and later was to become the President of the mission. During the War, he ensured that each soldier was given two pocket-sized, durable booklets: one a copy of the Proverbs and the other a copy of the gospel of John. They were well received and valued by most troops.

As they read the life-giving words of the gospel, “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31), many found the Saviour.

Forty three million items of Scripture were distributed during the course of the war. Each New Testament and each gospel concluded with a decision form based on the words of John 1:12,

‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

As the war proceeded and tens of thousands of men were killed, their simple belongings, as far as practicable, were returned to their loved ones. Many letters were received at the office of SGM indicating that men had written their names at the end of the decision form with the date, in some cases only a few days, or even a few hours before their death.

In this, the centenary year of Anzac involvement in WW1, SGM Lifewords has reproduced a replica of the gospel of John that Bishop Taylor Smith shared. Over half a million copies have been distributed in the UK as the nation paused in sombre remembrance of the sacrifices made a century ago.

It is our hope and plan in 2015 as Australia and New Zealand remember the Gallipoli landings, and the epic battles on the Western Front in the years following, that we may be able to get a copy of this gospel booklet into the hands of many who may not otherwise read it. You may find our article on “7 ways to use the War Gospel” helpful in sharing it in your own context.

If you would like a sample copy or to order multiple copies, please contact the office,


Chairman Rob Reeve with wife Lorna

Chairman Rob Reeve with wife Lorna

Rob Reeve, Chairman SGM Lifewords Australia-NZ

New students

Help a Bible student fulfill their calling in 2015

Many Bible College students in Indonesia struggle to make ends meet and have no support from Muslim family and friends. So last year, SGM LW arranged a sponsorship program where we help them with their education and mission work. Well new recruits have arrived, and so has our opportunity to bless them!New students

With just $55 per month, a sponsorship with SGM Lifewords means a student will receive:

– Resources, training and transport for their field mission work

– A contribution to meet their daily needs, accommodation, supplies.

– Significant contribution to the college fees and tuition.

Dozens of students are being helped through SGM Lifewords, with Australians building close relationships with students who are serving the Lord. If you would like to be part of reaching Indonesia and helping young students fulfill their calling simply pop an email to for information and a student profile.


7 ways to use the WW1 Gospel of John

Have you seen our WW1 Anniversary edition of John’s Gospel? It was created for the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Here are ten ways you could use it in your community.

1)     ANZAC day events – RSL clubs, churches and many others have been ordering these gospels to give away at ANZAC day services. You could also use our two minute silence video.

2)      Open churches – If your church is open to visitors, leave some WW1 Anniversary Gospels on a display rack for people to take away, especially if your church has a connection to local regiments or a war memorial.

3)      Schools – Schools throughout the country will be marking the anniversary of the war in various ways. Use the gospels and these corresponding lesson plans from Scripture Union to learn about the Gospels and what they meant to those who received them.

4)      Youth groups – Show our short film ‘Hill 63’ to raise the question of what people would be prepared to die for. Then read the story of ‘Singing Jim’ that’s in the Active Service Gospel as a real-life example. Teens have been happy to receive one of these relic-looking gospels.

5)      Scout and cadets – These groups are often involved in ANZAC day and other military or civic events. We’ve already heard from cadet chaplains planning to present young people with an Anniversary Gospel.

6)      History societies – there’s a fascinating story to the pocket Gospels and the soldiers who received them. We’ve sent stories and images to some interested groups already – just get in touch if you’d like to do a presentation and give Gospels away.

7)  Armed forces chaplains – Navy, air force and army chaplains are using thousands of these Anniversary Gospels with those in active service. Pray for them and encourage them! And if you are involved in chaplaincy work, feel free to contact us for gospels that you can also use.

The “Active Service: Gospel of John replica” can be ordered at

Booklet stack

Booklet Appeal: Provision for 40,000 Bible resources

Thank you to those who have prayed and/or generously contributed to our Booklet Appeal throughout the Spring months! You have made it possible for us to provide 40,000 new Bible booklets! Booklet stack

SGM Lifewords has had a significant period of growth in Australia-New Zealand over the past 12 months. An increasing number of people, churches and ministries have been coming to SGM Lifewords for Bible booklets and other scripture resources. We have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people using God’s word to bring hope, comfort and healing to those around them.

This is a wonderful situation but has presented us with the challenge of printing more booklets for the rising demand. We asked for your help and are grateful for your generosity and believing in the mission.

Our goal was to raise $30,000 for 60,000 Bible booklets. So far we have raised $22,000, and we thank God for that. We are already using some of these funds to enable people to have the new World War 1 Gospel of John, Christmas booklets and Little Book of Help.

We know that God’s word changes lives and we are excited to be able to share God’s word over the next few years. If you would like to help us reach the initial target, we welcome your donation at


My time in an Indonesian prison was shocking

I was an obvious target. Or so I thought. The only white guy to have been sighted in over 3 months. Walking through the gates, I suddenly felt vulnerable. 3200 inmates in a packed prison yard and the only guard I could see was having a smoke in the tower to my left. I had this feeling that if someone wanted to cause trouble or get a reputation, I would be the right target.

Prison ChaplainsIn reality, no one really seemed that interested in us. A dozen inmates were shooting a basketball; others were shading under a tree from the 30 degree sun; some were watering a small garden which grew to the side of the main accommodation building. Most were minding their own business just killing time. I nodded my “pagi” to a few guys standing beside the pathway, and their scowl gave way to a nod and a yellow-toothed grin.

There were two things that surprised me, even shocked me: Firstly, that there were so many men here. In a prison facility made for 1500 men, 3200 were crammed in here. Some didn’t even have their own bed. It just seemed like a terrible waste of life behind bars, a mere number in a system of payback and retribution. But that wasn’t as shocking as my second surprise…

I was visiting the inside of this prison with a dozen chaplains who run a chapel service and Bible study every single week. These people are salt of the earth – truly they were the ones Jesus spoke about in his Matthew 25 parable when he said,
“I was sick and in prison and you visited me…” These chaplains use our SGM Lifewords’ material to share God’s word with inmates, and this day we were going to encourage the few inmates who had found Christ behind bars. I thought there would be 15-20 of them, but as we opened the doors to the chapel, my jaw dropped.

Over 250 men were lined in the pews, arms raised and singing, “puji Tuhan, Yesus Kristus” (praise the Lord Jesus Christ) in a way that I had never seen grown men do before. It honestly took my breath away, seeing hardened men with tattoos, scars, and singlets worshipping the saviour, redeemer, their new Lord and friend.

Roni was one of the guys we met (sorry, no photos allowed). He had served 2 of 8 years for a drug-related offense. Last year, he was given a “You Matter” booklet. He didn’t read it for more than a week, but one evening he was bored and started flicking the pages. He soon sat up a little straighter, thought a little harder until something started to happen inside. He felt something stirring in his chest, and soon he found himself weeping, unaware that the words of this booklet were speaking into his shrunken soul.

True freedom“I didn’t know what to think. I knew there was a God but I didn’t really know who He was. Suddenly this little book was telling me that he was the Father who accepts the rebellious son. He was kind and forgiving. He was willing to love even when his son didn’t deserve it. That son is me. In that moment, I felt free like I never have before. And my Christian mate told me that it’s the truth that will set me free.”

His arms were higher than all the others. For those two hours, it was as though we were just like every other Christian in a church service, except these guys seemed to have a better understanding of salvation, redemption, undeserved love, grace and mercy. They inspired me and I was blessed – all from a visit in which we were to bring a blessing.

Dan Hardie

Financial help for not-for-profit organisations

NFP Accounts LogoIn recent years there has been an increasing burden placed on churches and not for profit organisations to comply with financial legislative requirements.  Keeping up to date with things like GST, superannuation and ACNC obligations can be difficult.  Most church treasurers are voluntary and many do not have the time, knowledge or experience to keep up to date with the ever changing compliance environment.

NFP Accounts can assist church treasurers and other not for profit organisations in this regard – providing accounting, reporting and advisory services to the Not for Profit Sector.  Greg McKay

Contact Greg McKay (pictured) at NFP Accounts ( or 0423 028 509 or 02 9596 4994) if you would like to discuss your church/charity’s financial requirements further.

*Note: Greg McKay is the public officer for SGM Lifewords. He has served us with excellence and integrity for the past 4 years and we commend him to any church or not-for-profit organisation.


Child witchcraft accusations

Stop Child witchcraft accusations

Child witchcraft accusationsAt the beginning of 2012 Interact reported on how Pavement Project is being used to bring hope and healing to children falsely accused of witchcraft in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now SGM Lifewords is part of a coalition of Christian organisations calling for an end to child witch accusations across the world.The Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition (SCWA), which also includes Bethany Children’s Trust, one of our Pavement Project partners, has recently launched a new website and published a report called “Responding to beliefs that harm children”. The coalition is urging churches all over the world to play their part in ending harm to children; to explore, understand, and tackle the roots of this difficult issue.Speaking on the UK’s Premier Christian Radio in September last year, Susie Howe, team leader of SCWA and director of Bethany Children’s Trust, shared the vision: “We want to help churches understand God’s heart for children and what Scripture says about this issue … to help them be an influence in bringing about change in practices and understanding in their communities.”To find out more about SCWA and how you can support their work visit their website. You can also read about how Pavement Project is helping children falsely accused ofwitchcraft in “Lifting the Curse”..

By Bethan Collingridge, SGM Lifewords UK

Booklet Appeal

PROGRESS REPORT: Booklet Appeal after 2 weeks…

2 weeks ago, we launched our Booklet Appeal in the hope to raise $30,000 for 60,000 new Bible booklets. It’s a real faith step for us, as we hope that people really get on board with our initiatives to publish and spread God’s word where it is greatly needed!

2 week report is below:

Everyone has the ability to give different amounts. But we can all contribute to God's Word being shared!

Everyone has the ability to give different amounts. But we can all contribute to God’s Word being shared!

At the 10th September, we’ve received $3500 from 22 different donors. We know that some have really sacrificed, with one young, single-income family giving $500 as they sow into the lives of others getting God’s word. They told us,

“We really believe in the work you are doing both here and in Indonesia. We have met Pak Gunar Sahari and love the powerful work that man of God and Dan are doing. Happy to back it.” This is a great start, and we look forward to hearing from you about your passion for the scriptures.

We are yet to receive our first $1000 or $5000 donation, but we are praying that these will come so we can reach the goal. Perhaps you could gather a group from your church to contribute one of those higher amounts? And please keep praying as we believe this is a godly goal and know that many lives will be blessed if we reach the target.

Click here for options on how to donate:


Booklet Appeal

TODAY’S LAUNCH! Urgent Booklet Appeal

Booklet AppealToday we launch our “Booklet Appeal” in an effort to raise $30,000 for 60,000 booklets! Over the past few months, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in people ordering and using God’s word, which is wonderful! It does leave us with an urgent need – WE’VE NEARLY RUN OUT of our core range of booklets! So we’re hoping you will join us to print booklets so we can continue to supply ministries, churches, individuals and missions with the scripture portions they need.

Would you consider helping us by taking one of the blocks below?

We all have different capacity to provide for others, but if we do it together, we can make a real difference! Even small donations will count in reaching this goal. Could you give something today? Click here to take one block!

Fundraising Table

“Print Campaign” raising money for 60,000 new booklets for Australia

The past 6 months has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people ordering Bible Booklets from SGM Lifewords. This is a great thing and we’re getting some amazing testimonies of life change! However, the strong demand and growth of SGMLW in Australia has raised an URGENT need:

For us to raise $30,000 in 3 months, so we can print 60,000 booklets.

GOAL: Raise $30,000 = 60,000 scriptures

in 3 months

The following booklets are needed urgently:

  • 15,000 Little Book of Help: For prison inmates; youth outreach events; high school scripture classes; Scripture Union beach missions; and more.
  • 10,000 You Matter: Currently out of stock, You Matter is used by hospital chaplains, scripture teachers,
  • 10,000 The Way to Life: A gospel presentation that was completely depleted at Easter for use at church services; outreach events; person evangelism; prison ministry.
  • 7500 Little Book of Faith: Brand new booklet for teenagers wanting to know what faith is, who to put it in, how we act in faith and what is real faith?
  • 7500 Daily Strength: We are almost out of a classic that is used in nursing homes; hospitals; by churches and individuals; and anyone wanting a daily reading.
  • 10,000 Christmas booklets: We have totally run out of Christmas booklets and this is the best opportunity of the year to share God’s Word! We urgently need Christmas booklets for church events, Christmas cards and personal outreach.

Our “PRINT CAMPAIGN” will start on the 20th August, 2014. You are able to contribute early by donating here. Just mention “Print” and it will be part of the $30,000 fund.