mgpcpastor's blog

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

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The Quiet Time (via David Cook)

David Cook writes about the Christian devotional custom of Quiet Times.
And yes, I did read through to the end with his comments about social media.

From David’s page at the PCA website:

On my way to pick up my newspaper recently, I passed by the local taxi rank and one of the drivers had spread his prayer mat on the footpath and was praying, facing Mecca.
Here I was on my way to read the paper, here he was at prayer!
It used to be called the Quiet Time, personal devotions, time alone in the presence of God for prayer and Bible reading.
It is not much emphasized these days, maybe because we see all of life as worship or too often, we judge the health of our relationship with God on the basis of the regularity of our Quiet Time. But we must not stop doing something that is good, simply because it has the potential of attracting our trust.

Here are three reasons why I believe daily devotions are a healthy discipline:
1. The distinctive Christian understanding of God is that He is our Father. His fatherhood is perfect and according to the Confession of Faith, revolves around his providing, protecting and pitying of us. I am to live in that relationship 24/7, but it is surely a healthy habit and honouring to the relationship, to spend time with God with a devoted, single mind. I don’t find it easy to think of two things at once, to speak to God and to understand what he says in his word, requires a single minded intention.
2. Christians duplicate the offices of our Lord Jesus.
Jesus is prophet, he is the revealer of God;
Jesus is priest, he intercedes for us at God’s right hand;
Jesus is King, he rules over all things.
The believer has a prophetic ministry, proclaiming God’s truth; a priestly ministry, interceding before God; a kingly ministry, ruling over all things, because the ruler has promised to work in all things for our good, to make us like Christ.

For each of these ministries to flourish in our lives they need to be nourished by truth –
I need to know the truth to be proclaimed:
I need to be reminded how crucially God regards the prayers of his people;
I need the reminder that every event which seems out of control, is actually a gift from God’s hand, driving me into the secure arms of the Shepherd King.
To be an effective prophet, priest and king, I need time in the nourishing word and the strengthening relationship of my heavenly Father.
Because of the way we grow in our knowledge of God. Human relationships grow as time is invested, and depths of thoughts and fears and insights are shared.
To be an effective prophet, priest and king, I need time in the nourishing word and the strengthening relationship of my heavenly Father.
3. J I Packer on page 20 of Knowing God, writes of turning our knowledge about God into knowledge of God, “the rule for doing this is demanding but simple. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God, into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”

Here are three hints:
1. Try and take the same time and place each day. For early birds this may be early, for night owls, later on, whenever your brain is at its best.
2. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to content – read with aids, without aids, according to a Bible overview plan or more thoroughly through one book. The 1:4 rule is a good one, read for one minute think about it for 4 minutes. Take notes.
3. Focus your mind for prayer – pray through a Psalm or a hymn, pray down a list or through a family or missionary photo album.
Remember your goal is to know God better and for you to be more like Him, to clothe yourself with the righteousness of Christ (Colossians 3:12 – 14, Galatians 3:27).
Time cannot be created, there are only 24 hours in the day.
Time needs to be made, the greatest time killer used to be TV but, without a doubt, these days it is social media.
Shut down the social media and spend focused, uninterrupted time with your heavenly Father.

David Cook

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Give Me Jesus – Sunday Songs

I’ve had Give Me Jesus on the blog before, but not on Sunday Songs. (edit: maybe I was wrong)
Sometime we’ll sing it on Sunday nights.
The words, I think are sourced from an old african-american spiritual. Lots and lots of arrangements of this have been made and I’ve got half a dozen or more recordings of it by various singers in my iTunes.
The simplicity of the lyric and melody belies how profound the sentiment of the song truly is.

In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You may have all this world,
Give me Jesus.
Oh, when I am alone,
Oh, when I am alone,
Oh, when I am alone,
Give me Jesus.
Oh, when I come to die,
Oh, when I come to die,
Oh, when I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

One of my favourite versions is from Fernando Ortega.
This special rendition is interspersed with tribute material to Ruth Graham.

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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

Q. What difference is there between the Lord’s Supper and the papal Mass?
A. The Lord’s Supper testifies to us that we have compete forgiveness of all our sins through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which he himself has accomplished on the cross once for all; (and that through the Holy Spirit we are incorporated into Christ, who is now in heaven with his true body at the right hand of the Father and is there to be worshipped). But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have forgiveness of sins through the sufferings of Christ unless is again offered for them daily by the priest (and that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine and is therefore to be worshipped in them). Therefore the Mass is fundamentally a complete denial of the once for all sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ (and as such an idolatry to be condemned).

Q. Who ought to come to the table of the Lord?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves for their sins, and who nevertheless trust that these sins have been forgiven them and that their remaining weakness is covered by the passion and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and improve their life. The impenitent and hypocrites, however, eat and drink judgment to themselves.

Q. Should those who show themselves to be unbelievers and enemies of God by their confession and life be admitted to this Supper?
A. No, for then the covenant of God would be profaned and his wrath provoked against the whole congregation. According to the ordinance of Christ and his apostles, therefore, the Christian church is under obligation, by the office of the keys, to exclude such persons until they amend their lives.

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The Wise Heart (preparing for MGPC 27/7/2014)

There Is A Redeemer and Blest The Man Who Fears Jehovah (Psalm 128) are the songs of preparation, with Far And Near commencing worship.
Our prayer of adoration and confession will recognise God’s eternal being and faithfulness, confessing the times when we act in ways that disregard that truth, trusting instead that which is limited and unable to preserve us.
Search Me, O God, the Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow are our confession of faith and assurance.
From God’s Word we continue to read John’s Gospel considering Jesus’ trial by Pilate.
We’ll be learning another Bible verse for memorisation.
What A Friend We Have In Jesus gives expression to the Christian’s experience of fellowship with God through prayer.
Following the reading Psalm 90, the sermon will focus on The Wise Heart, as we consider Moses’ mature testimony of the frailties of life and the enduring faithfulness of God, and how a wise life learns which is the better legacy to leave for new generations.
After our pastoral prayer and giving our tithes and offerings we’ll conclude worship singing All My Days (Beautiful Saviour).

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Worship Leader’s ‘Top Worship Songs Of 2013′ List

I haven’t heard most of these, but this list gives you some idea of what people are singing, courtesy of Worship Leader Online.
Absent are Getty, Townend, EMU Australia, Sovereign Grace, or other stuff I like.
These are from 2013 releases.
At the page there are embeds for listening.

  1. “Crown Him (Majesty)”
    Burning Lights | Chris Tomlin
    Writers: Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, ED Cash, George Job Elvey, Godfrey Thring, Matthew Bridges

  2. “Withholding Nothing”
    Withholding Nothing | William McDowell
    Writer: William McDowell

  3. “The Anthem”
    Limitless | Planetshakers
    Writers: Henry Seeley, Joth Hunt, Liz Webber

  4. “Captured”
    Evening : Morning | The Digital Age
    Writers: Jack Parker, Jeremy Bush, Mark Waldrop, Mike Dodson

  5. “Alive”
    We Are Young & Free | Young & Free
    Writers: Aodhan King, Alexander Pappas

  6. “The Rock Won’t Move”
    The Rock Won’t Move | Vertical Church
    Writers: Tyler Miller, Jacob Sooter, Kyle Fredricks, Landon MacDonald

  7. “When You Walk Into the Room”
    Kingdom Come | Bryan & Katie Torwalt
    Writers: Bryan Torwalt, Katie Torwalt

  8. “Revival”
    Revival | Soulfire Revolution
    Writers: Soulfire Revolution

  9. “Victor’s Crown”
    Revealing Jesus | Darlene Zschech
    Writers: Israel Houghton, Kari Jobe, Darlene Zschech

  10. “Open Up Our Eyes”
    Nothing Is Wasted | Elevation Worship
    Writers: ChrisBrown, London Gatch, Mack Brock, Stuart Garrard, Wade Joye

  11. “Forever”
    Tides | Bethel Music
    Writers: Brian Johnson, Kari Jobe, Jenn Johnson, Gabriel Wilson, Joel Taylor, Christa Black Gifford

  12. “Man of Sorrows”
    Glorious Ruins | Hillsong Live
    Writers: BrookeLigertwood, Matt Crocker

  13. “The Cross Stands”
    Let It Be Known | Worship Central
    Writers: Ben Cantelon, Matt Redman, Nick Herbert, Tim Hughes

  14. “Praise the Invisible”
    The Invisible | Daniel Bashta
    Writer: Daniel Bashta

  15. “This Is Amazing Grace”
    The Ascension | Phil Wickham
    Writers: Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro, Phil Wickham

  16. “Great Are You Lord”
    Live | All Sons & Daughters
    Writers: David Leonard, Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan

  17. “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)”
    Burning Lights | Chris Tomlin
    Writers: Chris Tomlin, Scott Cash, Ed Cash

  18. “Your Grace Finds Me”
    Your Grace Finds Me | Matt Redman
    Writers: Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

  19. “Lord I Need You”
    All the People Said Amen | Matt Maher
    Writers: Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher

  20. “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
    Zion | Hillsong United
    Writers: Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Lighthelm