mgpcpastor's blog

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


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Come And Hear Again About The God Who Works His Purposes Through Your Weaknesses

I hope if you attend Christian worship tomorrow you won’t be subjected to a lesson in moral improvement, an exhortation about how God can use you by your following a list of steps of moral improvements drawn from Bible narrative turned into object lessons.
I trust you’ll hear about God’s redemptive love, which always achieves its purposes not by making people better so that they’re useful, but by making the imperfect actions of people serve His better purpose of bringing His people into family and caring for and preserving them.

Mark Altrogge has a few more thoughts on the subject.


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How Then, Should We Live? – New Article by David Cook

David Cook, current moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Australia has posted the first of three articles on areas of systematic theology that he believes need special attention in order that the people of God may live out the freedom Christ has earned for them.

The first is on the place of the law in the believer’s life.
Read it here.

In a series on the Ten Commandments the preacher may well lay the keeping of the commandments as the burden of the sermon, simply replacing the Sabbath in the Fourth Commandment, with the Lord’s Day now.
However, redemption is always previous to law. In Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments begin in verse 2 with the reminder that God has redeemed his people.
Redemption is not conditioned by obedience but obedience is to be the fruit of redemption.
The law is never the means of achieving relationship with God, it is how God’s old covenant people were to live if they were to know His blessing.
Wilful, habitual disobedience was indicative of a lack of respect for God’s covenant and the redemptive act which was as its centre.
Read the whole article.


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Bless Me Too, Father (via Mark Buchanan)

Esau cried out for a blessing he never valued until it was no longer his, lost to his younger brother.
The elder brother in Jesus’ parable recorded in Luke 16 accuses his father of wasting a blessing that he alone deserves on his prodigal younger brother.
The words that the father speaks to his son in that parable “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours…” foreshadow a blessing that all those who trust in Jesus share.
Tomorrow as you worship you may come feeling that there are blessings you seek that are being denied.
Worship in joy as you celebrate the eternal blessing that is already yours in Jesus.

From Mark Buchanan:

You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
This is subversive. This changes everything. Before Jesus, blessing was scarce. It was meted out. It was rationed carefully, sparingly, grudgingly. There was generally one blessing per household: miss it, you get the dregs.
But now “out of the fullness of [Christ’s] grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another” (John 1:16; GNT).
You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
The words the Father speaks over his Son Jesus are in one sense for him alone. But in another sense, everything he has is yours.
source


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Q & A 1
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,1 and to enjoy him forever.2

*1 Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Revelation 4:11.
*2 Psalm 16:5-11; Psalm 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4.


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Look To The Sloth, You Workaholic

Following on from my last post, there’s always this for a new year’s resolution.

new-year-sloth


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New Year’s Revolution

The notion of resolving to make yourself a better person each January 1 teaches the Christian over and over that they can’t be their own saviours.
Through our own efforts we just won’t make ourselves completely acceptable to ourselves, let alone to others.
Even when we achieve that which we resolve to change, we find that there are still more changes to be made in order to be the person we ideally think we should be.
The ghosts of resolutions past haunt us, accusing of being slaves to passing fashions and weak failures.
The ghosts of resolutions present taunt us about so many opportunities we could pursue, and that through our own striving we can be different and better.
The ghosts of resolutions future daunt us, reminding us that this cycle of resolve, attempt, fail/move on speaks of an unsatisfied existence of never-ending striving.
A Christian new year’s resolution would be stop trying to recreate oneself and to rest in the recreation of our lives through Jesus.
We would resolve to stop striving toward whatever this year’s model of perfection looks like and abide in the full acceptance by God that we have because Jesus lived, died and rose again.
Instead of a new year’s resolution, we would consign ourselves to the eternal revolution that has taken place in our lives.
So, a new year’s revolution is to rest more and more into the acceptance and love of God, ever-growing into the new creation he is making of you.


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A Couple Of Christmas Thoughts

Merry Christmas.
This morning at MGPC, among everything else, I threw these two thoughts out as part of the sermon.
Firstly, that while people may contend that the spirit of Christmas is about giving, the real heart of Christmas is about getting. The incarnation of God in the person of the Lord Jesus and his saving us is something God gives and we receive. For us, the true heart of Christmas is getting. We only give as an echo of God’s love.
Secondly, Christmas can be a very long list of things to be done, a list that can stretch all the way back to a year or months before. But there’s also that moment, where late on Christmas night you recline in your La-Z-Boy and relax and think ‘It’s all done, it’s over’, and relax in satisfaction. Christianity is not the long list of things to be done, a never-ending quest to get things perfect. It’s an ongoing experience of that moment of realising it’s all been done; and for the Christian it’s the realisation that God has done it all, not you.

So, Merry Christmas, and tonight, whenever that moment of complete rest and the feeling of ‘It’s all done’ strikes you, hang on to and savour the feeling as a reminder of the spiritual peace that is ours because of what Christ has accomplished for us.
And when you savour that feeling, give thanks to God.