mgpcpastor's blog

reports, reviews, thoughts, news (and fun) posted by Gary Ware


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A Violent Grace (preparing for mgpc 31/6/2015)

Songs of preparation: Blessèd Is The Man (Psalm 1), Lord I Come (What A Faithful God Have I), and Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven.
Call to worship:
Prayer of Approach and Confession: acknowledging the glory of the eternal Trinity, and thankful for the power of the divine work of the three persons that cause and enable us to worship the Unity: our prayer is that God keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see Him in His one and eternal glory.
Song of assurance, confession of faith, doxology: Behold The Lamb Of God; The Apostle’s Creed; Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.
Consecutive reading: Ezekiel 10: 1 – 22, Ezekiel sees burning coals scattered over the city, cherubim are again described (as in chapter 1:15 following), as the glory of the Lord leaves the temple.
Bible memorisation: Acts 10:43.
Praise: What A Friend We Have In Jesus.
Reading: Acts 9: 1-19a
Sermon: A Violent Grace – Jesus reveals the power of his grace and the unfolding that the nations be gathered in as he encounters Saul on the road to Damascus.
Pastoral prayer, tithes and offerings.
Departing praise: All My Days (Beautiful Saviour).


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Footy Tipping 2015 – NRL Round 12 / AFL Round 9

So, the NRL threw up three upsets out of four last weekend, but got the right result in one of the only three games that matters each year. Thanks, Queensland.
The AFL is still giving us the odd inexplicable loss. Port Adelaide seem to have forgotten how to win, but Melbourne might be starting to learn how to. Hawthorn and Sydney still too close to separate, but Hawthorn only have one real game that matters this year, all the rest is just about getting there to play it.
Carlton are not coming up against the most clinically ruthless team in the comp in Sydney tonight, but they are coming up against the one that can run up a huge score against a hopeless opponent if they get a run on.

NRL (last round 1/4; season tally 43/84)
Penrith
Souths
Brisbane
North Queensland
New Zealand
Saint George
Melbourne

AFL (last round 6/9; season tally 46/72)
Sydney
Hawthorn
Port Adelaide
Geelong
Greater Western Sydney
Essendon (a toss up)
Fremantle
Brisbane
North Melbourne
West Coast Eagles


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Oversized Wine Bottles Named After Biblical Kings

Many of the oversized wine bottles in this Mental Floss article share names with Kings whose names are found in the Bible, other biblical figures, and a ring in or two…

Imagine taking a Melchizedek of red away from Dan Murphy’s.
I’d need a few friends around to help out.
I’m not fussy though, a Rehoboam or Jeroboam would be fine.


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If You’re Happy And You Know It Say ‘Meow’

Our old cat Felix would speak on command.
Felix was a legend.
Anyway, this is short and made me smile.


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Can A Family Of Churches Find A Season Of Partnership To Bring Renewal?

The image is one most of us know.
Someone living in a huge home, alone.
They weren’t always alone. In seasons past the house was a home for a family that grew. Its size and contents give testimony to the life and growth that took place within. Time and the passage of seasons have seen the huge house now home to someone who spends a disproportionate amount of time cleaning, repairing and maintaining.
The home that once served their aspirations for growth and nurture has now itself become the focus of their lives.
It’s hard to see that’s the case. They want to stay in the home because of everything that it represents about the past.
Sometimes it takes a season out of the home for them to realise just how much of their lives are consumed in maintaining something that has no real place in the present season of their lives.
Another more appropriate dwelling allows their life to flourish because its scale supports their living, it doesn’t demand their life’s energies.

It can be the same for a family of churches.
We could have inherited a structure and a way of operating that helpfully enabled a group of churches to flourish when there were a certain number of congregations, leaders and members.
But, in inheriting that structure, to keep it out of a sense of solidarity with the past when it is meant to enable a large group to work together, instead of facilitating ministry and mission among a smaller, more fragile group; what is meant to serve us only serves to burden us.
Instead of being strengthened for ministry and mission, time is spent on maintaining a structure. And maintenance is death.

What is the circuit breaker for a family of churches in that sort of situation?
The analogy above breaks down, but in a positive way.
An individual going through a downsizing process knows that their life will eventually end.
A family of churches can hope that a period of weakness in ministry and mission can be followed by a season of renewal and flourishing. We have hope.
A family of churches might suspend some of their functions for a time, and join with a larger, healthier, functioning family of churches, sharing their structure.
It might benefit from administrative and ministerial skills and be encouraged from involvement in a healthy and ministry (not maintenance) focussed atmosphere.
It might learn what it essentially needs to be doing as a family of churches and plan that a more modest and appropriate structure could be planned for a season when it might stand on its own again.

It’s possible a family of churches could do that.
They wouldn’t be risking loss. They’d only be risking gain.
Watch this space.