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The Gracious Rescue of Surprises (via Paul Tripp)

Paul Tripp writes about the challenge of submitting when God’s way does not line up with our preferences:

When you scan the biblical story you can’t help concluding that following God brings a life of surprises. Whatever plans God’s people made and however they tried to figure out God’s plans, they were constantly greeted with surprises. They faced turns in the story that they never would have anticipated. God’s plan again and again included things that would not have been included in the story if his people had been doing the planning.

…As pseudo-sovereigns, we hate waiting, disappointment, obstacles, and failure. We struggle to accept the fact that these things exist in a world that is under the wisest and most benevolent rule possible. C. S. Lewis comments that a hardy belief in the truths of Christianity actually makes your experience of pain more painful. It is bad enough to have to endure pain, but as a believer you must say that it was not an accident and that it was sent by a God who declares himself to be good!
To us, often God’s order looks like disorder, and his wisdom looks like foolishness. God’s lovingkindness often seems to be anything but loving, and definitely not kind. All of this has to do with one humbling thing that we all have to admit: as sinners, we want our own way. We want life to work according to our plan. We don’t want to have to face the unexpected or deal with disappointment. We want life to be smooth and predictable. And we want all of this because we are more concerned about our comfort and ease than we are about the processes of grace that are at work in us.
It is hard to rest in the rulership of the King when our hearts and minds are so preoccupied with the success of our own little kingdoms.
Read the whole article here…

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Always Check The Roll (via Christian Reflections)

Mikey Lynch provides a brief exhortation about a basic element of church-wide pastoral care.

You need to always make sure that somewhere they are scanning the rolls, checking who has disappeared, talking about how best to care for people.

It is such a simple and basic undertaking, yet one which we at mgpc have been long in taking up in a purposeful way. This is a basic building block to establishing consistent and purposeful teamwork in pastoral care.
Read Lynch’s post here.

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Catapault, Watermelon, What Could Go Wrong?

This footage is currently featuring as part of ads for channel Seven’s Amazing Race.
Makes me laugh.
Every time.
You’re probably all too high-minded.
“I can’t feel my face…”
I know how much it would have hurt, but I can’t stop laughing.

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Meat Loaf’s Birthday

Actor and singer Meat Loaf, actually Michael Lee Aday (born Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947) celebrates his 63rd birthday today.

Back in the 1970s there was a school bus trip to Canberra and Sydney.
The sound track was a cassette of Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’.
I can’t actually remember it not playing.
There was probably lots of ABBA, as well, but that’s not as cool a memory.
I mean, there’s the thought of a bus full of kids all singing along to ‘Ferndando’ or there’s the thought of a bus full of fourteen year olds all howling along to something like this:

BOY: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
GIRL: Will he offer me his mouth?
BOY: Yes.
GIRL: Will he offer me his teeth?
BOY: Yes.
GIRL: Will he offer me his jaws?
BOY: Yes.
GIRL: Will he offer me his hunger?
BOY: Yes.
GIRL: Again, will he offer me his hunger?
BOY: Yes!
GIRL: Yes.
BOY: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
GIRL: Yes.
BOY: I bet you say that to all the boys!
(Ba da da da da daaaa, Ba da da da da daaaaa…)


To See The King Of Heaven Fall / Gethsemane Hymn – Sunday Songs

At the recent General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia we shared a time of worship at which we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. As the elements were being distributed through the large church an operatic baritone (seriously) sang verses from ‘To See The King Of Heaven Fall’, also known as ‘Gethsemane Hymn’. Another composition by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, the words and music work together compellingly to express an appreciation for the cost of Jesus’ obedience.
This is one to be used at communion times or particularly around Easter. What a song for Thursday night or Good Friday.
We’ve tried singing it at mgpc the last couple of nights, and once you master the fact that much of it is set very low, it works quite well for congregational singing.

The lyrics from the song’s page at Kingsway Music.
To see the King of heaven fall
In anguish to His knees
The Light and Hope of all the world
Now overwhelmed with grief
What nameless horrors must He see
To cry out in the garden
“Oh, take this cup away from me
Yet not my will but Yours
Yet not my will but Yours.”
To know each friend will fall away
And heaven’s voice be still
For hell to have its vengeful day
Upon Golgotha’s hill
No words describe the Saviour’s plight
To be by God forsaken
Till wrath and love are satisfied
And every sin is paid
And every sin is paid
What took Him to this wretched place
What kept Him on this road?
His love for Adam’s curséd race
For every broken soul
No sin too slight to overlook
No crime too great to carry
All mingled in this poisoned cup
And yet He drank it all
The Saviour drank it all
The Saviour drank it all

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty
Copyright © 2009 Thankyou Music

YouTube of Stuart Townend from concert setting, with extended introduction.

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After You Preach… (via Ray Ortlund)

From Ray Ortlund:

After you preach

“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 1 Chronicles 19:13

My brother pastor, now that you have preached and led in worship, you are tired. Good. You laid it all down. You stood strong in God’s grace, you used your strength for the people of your God. You have done your part. Way to go.
Now give it all to the Lord. He will do with it what seems good to him. And go take a nap. Next Sunday will be here soon.

Of course, for many brothers the nap will not be too long and simply refreshes us for Sunday evening meetings. Then comes the time to fully rest.