mgpcpastor's blog

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

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On Judas, Jesus, And A Betrayal That Need Not Have Been The End

One of the challenges about helping people focus on the death of the Lord Jesus is that the story isn’t complete.
Good Friday as the conclusion of the story is sadness and defeat.
Sort of the same thing as telling folk to cheer up at a funeral.
It is the resurrection that gives Jesus death its meaning and authenticity.
And, for the Christian every day, not just this Sunday, is resurrection day.
That power is with us all the time.

Today we thought, not so much about Judas, as Jesus’ attitude to Judas and his betrayal.
We saw that Judas was affirmed as one of the twelve. Truly affirmed.
Even toward the end his feet were washed, he was present at the table.
And as he comes to Jesus to betray him, he is received in terms that affirm relationship while observing that things are not right.
The use of Judas’ name, the nature of Jesus’ address toward him, show that Jesus is free from resentment about what is happening to him personally.
His primary concern is for his friend, who has revealed himself to have a heart far from the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ words are not so much a sign of distress for his own circumstance as they show the heartbreak he feels for where Judas is.
His description of Judas’ action is diagnostic.
So often the question is about what happened to Judas, what is his eternal destiny?
I think more importantly the question should focus on the fact on what could have been Judas’s destiny.
And here we see that even though Jesus would go to the cross, Judas did not have to suffer eternal judgment.
He could have fallen on his knees before Jesus, confessed his sin and known forgiveness.
But he does not.
He experiences remorse over his actions, but what we read shows sorrow for the circumstance, not the heart that gave rise to the situation.
There is no betrayal that seems more personal, but Jesus is completely free from resentment or self-concern.
His great concern is for us, and that we recognise where we are in relation to God and turn to him.

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Footy Tipping 2014 – NRL Round 7 / AFL Round 5

The glorious uncertainty of NRL continued last week, and I was never feeling confident about GWS over the Western Bulldogs.
So, with games starting tonight and stretching through to Monday, here we go.

NRL (last round 5/8; season tally 20/48)
Saint George

AFL (last round 7/9; season tally 25/36)
North Melbourne
Port Adelaide
Gold Coast
Western Bulldogs

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Father, Open Our Eyes – New Song by Jamie Grant From A Sermon by Gary Millar

Jamie Grant is associate director of music at The Falls Church (evangelical Anglican) in the US.
In this post he writes about the impact a sermon by Gary Millar (principal of the Queensland Theological College) had on him, and how he composed this song using the imagery of the sermon (with Millar’s permission).
At his blog you can access a free copy of the song along with other sheet music resources.
Have a listen as you prepare for Easter.

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Boz Tchividjian Interviewed About Child Protection Issues Relating To Churches

Boz Tchividjian is something of an authority on child protection and child abuse in the USA, with relevance to the responses that churches should have in this area.
Ed Stetzer recently concluded an extensive interview with Tchividjian.
Taken alongside existing abuse and protection protocols, his insights are helpful.
Certain aspects of the interviews touch on the difficulties of implementing and observing appropriate protocols in churches that are independent or loosely associated, which is a US distinctive, I guess.
Other of the content is very helpful in terms of growing a culture that seeks to care for victims, including regular preaching which seeks to address the key issues directly.
As much as I’d like the Presbyterian Church of Australia to have one standard across all its congregations, the simple fact of differing standards of compliance in the various states don’t seem to make it feasible.
But our standards are compatible, and are in place everywhere, which is of first importance.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

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Please Don’t Make My Funeral About Me (via Nancy Guthrie)

These sorts of posts pop up from time to time and they’re always worth reflecting on, particularly for Christians.
Make sure your family knows you want your funeral to be about Jesus and not about you.
People are under all sorts of pressure to conform to a pattern that makes a funeral all about the deceased and not about the one from whom they can find comfort in loss.
Or worse, a committed Christian may find that family members well meaningly arrange for a minister or celebrant whose idea of a proper funeral for a Christian is to read a variety of sentimental pieces of prose or poetry (with maybe a Bible passage included among them). This can happen if the family don’t have an active faith, and if the person who died has spent a long time in an institution and has become cut off from active church life. A very long and active part of who they are is simply pushed aside because it has been inactive for the season before their death.

Nancy Guthrie lays it all out. And suggests we take the step of writing down everything we want well in advance.
Here’s the intro…

I just got home from another funeral. Seems we’ve gone to more than our share lately. And once again, as I left the church, I pled with those closest to me, “Please don’t make my funeral all about me.”
We were an hour and fifteen minutes in to today’s funeral before anyone read from the scriptures, and further in until there was a prayer. Resurrection wasn’t mentioned until the benediction. There were too many funny stories to tell about the deceased, too many recollections, too many good things to say about the things she accomplished to speak of what Christ has accomplished on her behalf.
But then this wasn’t a funeral. It was a “Celebration of Life.” In fact there was really little mention of death or of the ugly way sickness slowly robbed our friend of everything. Christ and his saving benefits could not be made much of because death and its cruelties were largely ignored.

Read the whole post here.

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A Special Day – And Many More

Back in 2003 Rod Waterhouse, my soon to be colleague, wrote that some days are more significant than others.
And that is what April 15, 2003 turned out to be.
A significant day.
There have been many days since then (4000 or so), some pleasurable, some sad, some encouraging, some perplexing, some already faded from memory, and some that will never be forgotten as long as memory remains.
But they all flow from this one day, and the promises that were made that night.

As in 2003, Sunday April 20 in 2014 is Easter Sunday.
Back then my friend Rod was prompted to remind us all of the most significant day ever, the day of the resurrection, the day from which all our days flow.
From that day till now we’ve worked to live out that power as a community, and to share the good news of that new life with others.
And so we continue to be witnesses of the resurrection power of new life through all the days with which we’re blessed.