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Teeth: Stefan Slucki Suggested I Post This Video

My colleague Stefan Slucki (or someone using his email account) sent me this link and suggested I post it.
I’m not sure what he saw in this video, and I have to believe there’s some sort of sermon illustration here somewhere.
Somewhere.

So, without further commentary, here’s Teeth.


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Maintaining The ‘Lifelines’ Amid The Challenges Of Church Life (via Harry Reeder)

Harry Reeder demonstrates that, with various situations demanding their time and efforts, the leaders of the Christian church in the book of Acts sought to preserve the priority of ‘prayer and the Word’, appointing others to deal with the other works which the church had to perform.
Helpfully, Reeder shows that this priority of ‘prayer and the Word’ was not a novelty initiated by the leaders of the church, but, rather, was a continuance of principles observable in the life of the covenant community in times past.
This is important because it is possible for a church and its leaders to set aside the sources through which our spiritual life comes and is nourished, in order to focus on activities which may be needful, but which have no power to bring or grow the Christian life.
Read all of Harry Reeder’s post Two LifeLines Preserved by True Leadership here.
An excerpt from near the end.

Why did the apostles realize the importance of “Prayer and the Word” as the foundational “LifeLines” of the church? I would suggest five reasons.

The Old Testament. The ministry of Prayer and the Word was central to the vitality of God’s people and provided the heart and impetus for ministry in general and the mercy ministry in particular. The revivals in the Old Testament such as in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah were always preceded by protracted times of Prayer and the Word.

Christ’s life and ministry – The Apostles were continually discipled under the modeling and mentoring ministry of Christ which highlighted by example the priority of prayer and the primacy of God’s Word. His prayer life was so profound and they would call upon Him to “teach us to pray.”

Disciple making – the Lord not only exhibited the “LifeLines” of Prayer and the Word before His Disciples, He also ignited, inspired and instructed them by Prayer and the Word for three years.

The History of the church at Jerusalem. The importance of Prayer and the Word was clear to  the Apostles since the church at Jerusalem was conceived in a prayer meeting (Acts 1) and birthed in a sermon (Acts 2).

The Lifestyle of the church. The lifestyle of the church at Jerusalem is summarized in Acts 2: 43 as being “devoted to the Apostles teaching” (Ministry of the Word) and to “the prayers” ( Ministry of Prayer).

As a final thought, such careful, responsive and thoughtful leadership continues to be a great need in today’s church. But, the question remains, “Where is the “priority of Prayer and the Word” in my life and in the life of my church?


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Nominee Of Pastoral Successor To John Piper Named

The Desiring God blog (and half the evangelical internet) has posted about the nominee who would become the successor to John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church, USA.
He’s not from Britain. (Which is a nice change.)
He’s not a celebrity pastor.
Read the post to find out more about Jason Meyer.
Among a lot of other comment on this, I found Timmy Brister’s post about Meyer enlightening and encouraging.


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$5 Pre-Order Price For Download Of ‘Age To Age’ Sovereign Grace Music’s New Album

Sovereign Grace Music are currently offering a pre-order special for their upcoming album Age To Age at the album’s Bandcamp page for US$5.00.
A change of pace, this album promises that:

Inspired and influenced by hymn writers of the past, From Age to Age contains 14 new hymns that combine rich, theologically driven lyrics with singable melodies for the glory of the Savior whose praises know no end.

In addition to the pre-order price of US$5.00, there is an immediate download of track 5, O My Soul Arise, a reworking of Charles Wesley’s Arise My Soul, Arise, which has also received a retuning from Indelible Grace Music.

The sample track is an indication that, with solid lyrics to lean on, the music, though contemporary, is a bit more timeless than other of their content.
And to my mind, that’s a good thing.
I think that with a less stylised vocal lead this could work as a congregational song, (though it’s hard to shake my liking for the Indelible grace version.)


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Pastor’s Care Parcel

Some people (family included) find it funny or confusing when I mention that I’ve received a Care Package.

No, not from the Red Cross.
For this Pastor, my Care Packages come from here.

And even though the Care Package came because I selected the items from a webpage and gave them my payment details, I don’t understand what anyone thinks is odd about this.

This time it included two CDs, two recent books on preaching, two paperbacks on the Psalms and another book that I’ve been looking forward to reading, Sam Crabtree’s Practicing Affirmation.

All with free postage, 20% off, and another $8.00 saved with the web prices being lower than stickered prices on some items.


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The Proverbs 26 Principle And Dealing With Fools

I’ve recently had cause to think about two verses from the 26th chapter of Proverbs.
Here they are:
[4] Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
[5] Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
On first glance these verses may seem contradict one another, but what they really do is point out the lose/lose nature of encounters with a certain type of person.
A fool in biblical terms is not necessarily a stupid person incapable of learning.
A fool is someone who is full of their own opinion and won’t learn anything else.
They’re unteachable, but at the same time believe everyone should learn from them.
The proverb points out two outcomes of encountering them: Should you allow yourself to be sucked into debating one, you’re simply wasting your time and theirs; and, if you don’t get sucked into debating them they’ll assume it’s because they’re right and you couldn’t prove them wrong.
What are we to make of this lose/lose scenario?
Well, don’t be a fool.
Don’t waste your time on them, and don’t feel bad about their continued assertions of being correct and that you were unable to prove them otherwise.
If you ignore this principle you’re imposing your own incorrect notion on such situations, will end up wasting a lot of time, and won’t learn.
In other words, you’ll be behaving foolishly.
And the primary aim of the Proverbs is to teach the teachable, so be teachable on this matter.
When someone gives you their latest twelve page production on some matter of minimal importance, just hand it back and tell them that God has told you not to read it, or to engage with them about it.
If they ask how God told you this, give them the reference to Proverbs 26:4&5.
And try not to feel any sense of burden about having done so.
There are too many people who genuinely need the help and support of pastors without the inordinate and disproportionate amount of time that gets wasted in these sorts of situations.

Denny Burk has produced a helpful blog post which deals with the issue of interacting with folk who leave unhelpful comments on blogs and forums. In internet slang they’re called ‘trolls’. The same principles can be applied to face to face, real life relationships as well.

1. Do not fail to recognize a blog troll when he appears. A blog troll is someone who makes outlandish, rude, and offensive comments. A blog troll is not someone who simply disagrees with you. In fact, you might even find yourself involved in a thread in which the troll agrees with your point of view! The issue here has less to do with the substance of a debate than it does with the tone. Blog trolls are often prone to unqualified hyperbole, name-calling, caricature, and insults. In short, the blog troll fits the profile of the Proverbial “fool” who is not able to control his tongue.
Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.”
Proverbs 12:18 – “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 15:2, 4 – “2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly…4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.”

2. Do not respond in kind to a blog troll. Blog trolls feed on arousing the ire of their targets. If you feed a blog troll by equaling his vitriol, then he will come back for more. Instead, think of ways to speak kind words in all your communication with a blog troll.
Proverbs 26:4 – “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.”
Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

3. Do not expect a blog troll to receive correction. The Proverbs teach that “fools” are very limited in their ability to receive correction. This is not to say that you should never engage a troll. It is to say that you need to be careful before casting your pearls before swine.
Proverbs 17:10 – “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool.”
Proverbs 27:22 – “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.”

Along with this, do not demand apologies from a troll. This tactic generally encourages him to dig in and to defend the righteousness of his cause all the more. This leads to more rude and caustic commentary, and the cycle starts all over again.
Proverbs 12:15 – “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.”

4. Do not attempt to rebuke the blog troll in a public forum. That only leads to more nasty conflict. If you feel that you have been wronged, then the private confrontation of Matthew 18:15 may be the best way forward. Try to get the blog troll’s e-mail address, and resolve the matter there. Sometimes you can accomplish more in private where folks tend to feel less of a need to save face. If the troll responds nastily to private correction, you and everyone else can be thankful that the outburst took place out of public view.
Matthew 18:15 – “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”

5. Do not acknowledge the comments of an unrepentant blog troll. If the blog troll is unresponsive to your private efforts to get him to play nice, you should ignore his comments thence forward. Once again, do not feed a blog troll. It only makes him bigger. If everyone will simply pay no attention to blog troll comments, the blog troll will eventually go away.

6. Do not be a blog troll. Instead, aspire to this:
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”


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MGPC 2012 Sale Of Gifts & Investing In Other Churches

Last night mgpc had our annual sale of gifts. This is an where the items from our Harvest Festival (and a lot more) get auctioned off.
This year the proceeds are being given to the Para Hills Presbyterian Church, in addition to our existing support.
They’re going to use the funds to reach out into their own neighborhood (and beyond) by an improved internet presence and other means of publicity.

mgpc is investing in Para Hills as a church which we want to see strengthen and grow, because last year I came to the novel idea that a local church like ours shouldn’t be waiting until we believe we’re healthy or strong enough to invest in and support a church plant or growing church, but rather we should see our effort in being involved in the growth of another church as an integral part of our growth toward becoming a healthy, biblical church.
Which is to say; every local church which aspires to be healthy and biblical should have a definite interest/partnership with another local church which they are encouraging to grow.
We’re now doing this here in Australia and in East Timor.
It’s not commendable.
It’s normal.

Tables of gifts.

Kevin Norman, our expert auctioneer, and a few helpers

Kevin Norman, our expert auctioneer, and a few helpers

Enthusiastic bidders

Enthusiastic bidders