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I didn’t know they still made this game.
I can vaguely remember playing this as a child.
The memory evokes a feeling that it was like Monopoly, only more boring.

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Pastors, Quit Trying to Be Perfect and Let Jesus Love You (via Justin Buzzard)

From the Buzzard Blog, a good word for Black Dog Mondays.

From as far back as I can remember I’ve been a perfectionist. Most pastors are perfectionists. I’m starting to think that a main reason God called me to be a pastor is to crush my perfectionism and set me increasingly free through the gospel. I don’t think I’d cherish Jesus like I do were it not for the past 9 years as a pastor. As I’ve said before, the pressure of being a pastor will either make you a better man or a worse man.

Toward the conclusion:

Your Father knew all about your sin, flaws, wounds, and baggage when he called you to shepherd his sheep. Jesus doesn’t demand your perfect performance, he summons you to find rest in his perfect love for you, and to let that deep, deep acceptance be what drives and transforms your ministry.

Read the whole post here.


Never Alone – Sunday Songs

One song on my need to introduce list at mgpc during 2011 is Never Alone by Simone Richardson and Philip Percival from EMU Music.
The reasons why we haven’t done so are a bit of a window into life in a country town. EMU music has a much higher profile amongst evangelicals in Sydney and Brisbane, a bit less in Melbourne and pretty much nil in South Australia. Here at mgpc I use midi files at night and apart from some earlier efforts no-one in Australia creates commercial midi files for EMU music. (Though they do have some mp3s that have vocal tracks removed). And lastly my lead music guy has been more taken with the output of Sovereign Grace from the USA.
I haven’t featured their work here on Sunday Songs very much because I generally prefer to embed some recorded form of each song here on the blog and there’s not a lot of EMU music on YouTube. The last problem seems to have been rectified with a couple of songs being posted there last week. Which brings us back to Never Alone.
Those of you who have read a few of these know that the straight forward verse structure is a preference of mine, as is a melody which a congregation can sing with confidence. This song has both.
Simone Richardson has written a set of words which intertwine Christian experience with the biblical truth of Christ’s resurrection power. Experience is not simply expressed as a sentimental aspriation and biblical truth is not divorced from life. Here they are unfolded together in a developing narrative of the Christian’s salvation hope and experience.
Philip Percival’s has complemented Simone’s poetry with a melody which has two distinct halves in each verse which assists the the dual emphases which are included in each verse. Additionally the melody serves the lyrical expression of each verse well, a testament to both Simone and Philip’s skill.
Here’s the lyrics from the EMU website.
We’re not alone, for Christ is here
Immanuel our God come near
We’re not alone, for to our world
Jesus has come, eternal Word.
And as he speaks, our souls laid bare
Naked, ashamed, sin is made clear
And yet he clothes us in his love
Never alone, Christ is with us, is with us.
The longest walk, earth’s darkest day
The pressing crowd, his mounting pain.
A heavy load of grief and shame
Breathless that we should breathe again.
“Father forgive them,” comes his cry
Silence from God blackens the sky.
A creeping dread in every heart
Lost in the world now God departs, God departs.
The dawn will come, the sun will rise
Out of the grave we’ll see hope’s light.
Tomb opened wide, stone rolled away
Morning has come, a brand new day.
“He isn’t here,” the angel said.
“He is alive no longer dead.”
Our hearts are lifted, souls raised high
Christ is with us, Christ is our life, he’s our life.
Never alone, is now our cry
In joy, in grief, in lonely sin.
Never alone, for Christ is ours
He lives in us, we live in him.
And ’til we reach that final day
When fears are gone, cast far away
We’ll live secure, trust in his love,
Never alone, Christ is with us, he’s with us.

Lyrics: © 2006 Simone Richardson
Music: © 2006 Philip Percival

And here’s the song.

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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 5

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 5

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.*1

Q. 8. How does God execute his decrees?
A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence.*2

*1 Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 14:24; Acts 2:23; Ephesians 1:11-12.
*2 Psalm 148:8; Isaiah 40:26; Daniel 4:35; Acts 4:24-28; Revelation 4:11.

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2011 Christianity Today Book Awards

Click through here to see the books which a panel of judges selected to receive the 2011 Christianity Today Book Awards.
(Christianity Today is a flagship US magazine for Christians)
The judges criteria in the various areas awarded is to: “determine[d] the books that best offer insights into the people, events, and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought, and mission”.
I haven’t read any of the books listed, and none are really on my acquisitions list.
And again, no writers associated with the ‘calvinistic resurgence’ or ‘young reformed and restless’ movement feature. (Except for one mention of a book co-authored by J.I. Packer.)