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The Slow Miracle Of The Lord’s Day (via Greg Wilbur)

It is true that what people perceive as a sudden noticeable drop in weight is actually nine months of steady committed discipline and effort.
Consistency bring results.
God wants his people to gather together week by week under the means of grace for a similar purpose.
Come and worship tomorrow.

Greg Wilbur reflects on Scripture, the writing of Muether and Hart, and the Westminster Catechism.

As we consider corporate, congregational worship and its elements, can we approach it from the standpoint of submission because we know it is good for us rather than from the position of what we personally like? We submit to that type of discipline in exercise, eating, and learning new skills. The same applies to the on-going discipling (discipline) of Lord’s Day worship. It takes time to see results of an exercise regimen, and there are various times of success and plateaus but by looking back from where we have come, we see the trajectory of better fitness and health. The same is true with the discipline of worship and the trajectory of spiritual fitness and health.
Lord’s Day worship imperceptively reorients our affections towards heaven and away from earthly concerns, towards the eternal rather than those things that are passing away, to the way of the cross instead of our own comfort. To paraphrase my pastor, God did not redeem us by the blood of His Son in order for us to sit comfortably in our pew every week. The on-going shaping of the Sabbath equips, prepares, challenges, and changes us.
Have patience in the work of Sabbath observance—in your own heart and in the response of the congregation. The Spirit is at work in these outward and ordinary means.

Read the whole post at the Christward Collective.


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Faith In Serving (preparing for MGPC 25/2/18)

Song: You Love Defends Me
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: This Is Amazing Grace
Prayer Of Confession
Song: Come O Fount Of Every Blessing
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 33
Song: Now To The King Of Heaven
Bible Reading: Esther 4:1-17 – Mordecai urges Esther to appeal to King Ahasuerus to rescind his edict commanding the annihilation of the Judean exiles throughout the Persian Empire, reminding her that it may be that she was placed in her high position “for such a time as this” (4:14).
Bible Memorisation: James 2:14-17
Song: Jesus Shall Reign
Bible Reading: James 2:14-26
Video: James Bumper
Sermon: Faith In Serving
Song: Saviour While My Heart Is Tender (Tithes & free will offerings will be taken up during this song. Guests are not obligated to give an offering.)
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: Man Of Sorrows


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Billy Graham In Sydney (via Philip Jensen)

There’s no shortage of Billy Graham reflection pieces since his death.

I watched Peter Jensen be interviewed on Dominic Steele’s The Pastor’s Heart webcast where he mentioned his response to the Graham Crusade of 1959 as a 15 year old, and that his 13 year old brother followed him forward.
Philip Jensen provides his perspective of being that 13 year old.
But it’s the human story of the impact of Graham’s ministry that remains.
From Jensen:

However, the main impact of the Graham crusades was felt at the grass roots of our society rather than in the public domain. Certainly, many who made a decision for Christ, later fell away – but the long-term impact in the lives of individuals, families and churches can still be found across Australia. Half the students training at Moore College to become Ministers during the 60’s were converted at the ‘59 crusade. Nearly all the youth group I lead were converted in the ‘68 crusade. The church I pastored doubled in size during 1979, largely as a result of the that year’s crusade. At university I met a girl who, as a young teenager, was converted in 1959 listening to Billy Graham on a landline in Broken Hill. That’s how my wife became a Christian.
Read the whole post here.


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The Book Of Books: What Literature Owes The Bible (by Marilynne Robinson)

Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead writes about the influence that the Bible has had on Western literature.
The Bible asks questions, raises issues, and proposes truths about ultimate destinies that culture has engaged with in various ways. To be unaware of that link is to only hear half a conversation.

“The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know”.

Read her article at Comment.


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Does It Bother You That God Barred Moses From The Promised Land? (via Trevin Wax)

Some helpful thoughts from Trevin Wax on a biblical narrative that seems troubling.

Moses did not enter the promised land, because God’s true deliverer fully embraces and fully embodies the mercy and love of God for his people.
And God’s dealing with Moses amply demonstrates mercy and grace in judgment.

From the article:

God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck it instead. The rock had always been a picture of God’s grace and generosity. And in an earlier account, God told Moses to strike it, as if God himself would take abuse in order to provide water for his people.
But now, in this case, Moses struck the rock twice, without God’s command. His anger, frustration, and self-pity overtook him and led him to lash out at God. He was doing what the faithless Israelites did when they complained and grumbled.
All our sins come down to this: we don’t trust that God is for us. We don’t depend on him as our rock. We stand in judgment over others. We get frustrated and impatient. We resent God’s grace toward others. We think that God doesn’t love us or want the best for us. Trace the sin of disobedience backward and you’ll arrive at the sin of faithlessness.
But even here—even though Moses was sinful, and the people were undeserving—God still gave them water. And he still allowed Moses the chance to look out over the Promised Land before he died. Even in judgment, God shows mercy.

Read the whole post here.


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Benedict Cumberbatch Performs “I’m a Little Teapot”

This will brighten your day.
Benedict Cumberbatch performing “I’m a Little Teapot”, along with a few other acts of silliness.


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Jesus Shall Reign – 2018 Getty Music Global Hymn Sing

I signed up for the 2018 Getty Music Global Hymn Sing, this year featuring Jesus Shall Reign plus a new Getty composed chorus (surprise).
The chorus is singable, and the lyrics are sympathetic to the original hymn.
(Set to the tune DUKE STREET, rather than the tune WARRINGTON which I am more used to singing it to).

Anyway, anything that results in Christians singing classic hymn lyrics praising the Jesus, the name above all names is okay by me.
Here’s a lyric video.