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Resilient Relationships And Daily Repentance (via Fleming Rutledge)

Fleming Rutledge writes about the final prophetic promise of the Christian Old Testament, and how that foreshadows the Gospel hope and the creation wide need for it.

The final words of the Christian Old Testament are quite amazing. The Hebrew Scriptures are arranged so that the prophetic literature is in the middle, but the Christian Old Testament has the prophets at the end. The last book is Malachi, and the next-to—last verses foresee a “great and terrible day,” the day of judgment and the second coming of the Lord. It will be a time when all that has been wrong will be set right. The example that Malachi gives is astonishing. At the last possible moment, he turns away from the language of wrath and flames to something very unexpected. This is the way the Old Testament ends: “Behold, I will send you the prophet Elijah [that would be John the Baptist] … He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.”
The worst thing in the world, the prophet seems to be saying, is estrangement within families. It is given as the sign of the final judgment of God, his worst curse upon the human race. If you are a young person here today feeling miserable about your parents, if you are parents here today worried about your children, then this message is for you. God does not desire this situation. His will is for reconciliation. Family breakdown is a sign of the old age of Sin and Death. Reconciliation between parents and children is the sign that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Maybe you don’t have these kinds of problems yet in your family, but every family, over generations, will have some kind of wrenching, heartbreaking trouble. In every case, the fracturing of the most basic human connection is the antithesis of what God intends for his people. And reconciliation, when it happens, is one of the clearest of all indications that God is at work. Therefore the most important way that we can participate in the life of God is to seek reconciliation. Reconciliation is hard work. It requires daily repentance. For a number of years, I have had two distinguished psychoanalysts as teachers. I asked both of them a fundamental question: What is the most important ingredient in a strong marriage? They gave the same answer. One of them is a secular Jew so I was very surprised to hear him say, “The most important ingredient is asking forgiveness.”
Fleming Rutledge, Advent – The Once & Future Coming Of Jesus Christ, Eerdmans, 2018, pp 291-292.


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You Have Searched Me (Psalm 139) – Sunday Songs

You Have Searched Me is a singable setting of Psalm 139 from Getty Music.
This recording starts with a younger female voice, and is then joined by Kristyn Getty.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 42

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 42

110.
Q. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?
A. He forbids not only the theft and robbery which civil authorities punish, but God also labels as theft all wicked tricks and schemes by which we seek to get for ourselves our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or under the pretext of right, such as false weights and measures, deceptive advertising or merchandising, counterfeit money, exorbitant interest, or any other means forbidden by God. He also forbids all greed and misuse and waste of his gifts.

111.
Q. But what does God require of you in this commandment?
A. That I work for the good of my neighbor wherever I can and may, deal with him as I would have others deal with me, and do my work well so that I may be able to help the poor in their need.


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The Joyous Preacher (via Lewis Allen)

The joyousness of the Christian life must be reflected in both the life and the message of the preacher.
From Lewis Allen:

Joy in Christ and his grace is the most convincing sign that the gospel has won our hearts. If we say we’ve been brought to Jesus and are his willing servants but live joyless lives, then there is a problem. If we preach out of a heavy sense of obligation, we are in trouble. And if we honestly believe that people will be won for Christ through our dutiful, even faithful and conscientious — but actually joyless — preaching, then we are deceiving ourselves. The whole world is looking for joy. The church is looking for it, too. And everyone’s looking at you. You’re the preacher, who’s supposed to have a message, even a life-transforming one. Are you being changed, then, in this one area that everyone longs for most of all? Are you a joyful preacher, whose words match the revolution you’re experiencing?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 32.


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Time For Everything (preparing for MGPC 21/10/18)

Song: From The Day
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: Saviour Of the World
Prayer Of Confession
Song: How Firm A Foundation
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 25
Song: Now To Him Who Loved Us
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 – The Apostle Paul defends his ministry in Thessalonica employing four metaphors: steward, father, mother, herald.
Bible Memorisation: Ecclesiastes 3:11
Song: My Soul Bless The Lord
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22
Sermon: Time For Everything
Song: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: No Other Name


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Loving The Subject Of Preaching More Than Loving The Action Of Preaching (via Lewis Allen)

Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism is comprised of forty-three reflections based on catechism-style questions and answers aimed at preachers.
The chapters provide some doctrinal reflection and some personal reflection applications.
The first question: ‘What is God’s chief end in preaching?’
The answer to that question: ‘God’s chief end in preaching is to glorify his name.’
From Allen’s application of the theme.

What is your heartbeat? Do you love to preach, or do you love the One you preach? Do you love to prep your sermons, enjoying the hard mental and spiritual work, or do you love the One you are discovering more about? As Sunday comes, do you long to lift up the name of the triune God in your preaching, declaring the wonder of the three persons, or is your heart set on getting a bit more congregational love in your direction?
Our challenge as preachers is to remain lovers, to refuse to let our calling, however important and exciting, obscure our primary calling to be captivated ourselves by God’s love in Jesus Christ. We must teach others that God is love, and that life on earth is an invitation from heaven to know that love and to live in the light of it. Sermons that are mere information downloads are dry discourses and make for dry Christians, if Christians at all. Rather, we preach so that our hearers discover that the God of love has come to meet them in his Son.

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 30.


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Death Wish

Stole this off the internet.

Fellas, never do this. The joke is that there is no ‘maybe’ about it.

Don’t make your wife murder you.

The only good thing will be that any court would find her action in doing so justifiable.