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Sensing Jesus by Zack Eswine – A Book Review

sensing jesusWhat does Sensing Jesus (Zack Eswine, Crossway, 2013) promise?
Subtitled ‘Life and Ministry as a Human Being’ Eswine seeks to make the point that each person is apprenticing themselves to a rule, a way of life; and to provide tools for recognizing Jesus and seeking his apprenticing of the lives of his disciples (pg 290).
What I liked.
Weaving together autobiographical elements and finely crafted prose, Eswine illustrates the danger of disciples of Jesus mistakenly substituting themselves for Jesus in the lives of others, or seeking what only Jesus can provide from relationships and circumstances.
This is not a book to be rushed through, instead it invites a measured reading. The pastor’s own soul and walk with Jesus is explored in depth; and then the relational process by which the pastor encourages others to identify what Jesus is already doing in their lives and circumstances is unfolded.
Sensing Jesus challenges pastors, and Christians, not to pretend they are God: Father, Son, or Spirit; but instead to recognise our limitations and seek the revelation of God which is afforded to us in all of life’s circumstances and relationships.
The temptation to be everywhere, to know everything, and to be able to control every situation is shown for the (well-meaning, though gospel-defeating) idolatry which it is, allowing the pastor to embrace the art of encouraging people to accept Jesus’ discipling of them instead of the science of encouraging their dependence upon pastor or self.
The challenges about needing to set down roots in a place to effectively minister; the admonition against placeless ambition; the challenge of seeing trials as watchdogs that warn about impatience; the lesson that God is always there before we arrive; and, above all, that there is no guarantee that having the right words to say will result in the outcome we desire all resonate in that troubling manner that comes when one remembers that discipleship of Jesus is not something we master but which has to master us.
What I’m not sure about.
How ministry could have been different if I’d read this book twenty years ago.
I’d love to read more from Eswine about how this intentionality could be built into something like a retreat group.

Sensing Jesus is a heartfelt corrective to isolating pastoral ministry from following Jesus and Christian discipleship as being distinct from life. The earlier a pastor reads this as they prepare for ministry the better. Anyone who thinks about healthy Christian discipleship and encouraging others will benefit from reading it too.

The review copy of Sensing Jesus was provided by Crossway Publishing as part of their blog review program.
Provision of the book did not require the publication of a positive review.

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Sons Of Korah Tomorrow Night

sonsAt mgpc we sing at least one rendering of a biblical psalm each week.
We’re also fifty-one psalms along in preaching through all the Psalms on Sunday nights.
In addition I’ve enjoyed the Sons Of Korah since 1998, having all of their albums, including proto-recording Hand To The Plough.
So I’m looking forward to their concert at mgpc tomorrow night with utter delight.

Tickets will be available at the door, so, if you’re able, please come along.

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Fifty-Six Acronyms Explained

My daughter Rachel also found this interesting.
Apparently she knows who John Green is.

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North Korea Announces Defeat Of Calvinism (via Tominthebox)

North Korea’s leader has it in for calvinism.
I need my therapy llama more than ever.

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Where’s My Therapy Llama? How Come I Don’t Have A Therapy Llama?

Utterly charming pictorial story about therapy llamas at a rehabilitation center in the USA.

This will get your week off on the right foot.

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O Saviour Where Shall Guilty Man – Sunday Songs

O Saviour Where Shall Guilty Man is a fine hymn of testimony about the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ composed by Caroline E. May.
At mgpc today we sang it to the tune Rest, which is more commonly associated with the hymn Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind. For some reason the Australian Presbyterian hymnbook Rejoice has chosen to use the tune Repton (which, you may guess, is also commonly set to O Saviour Where Shall Guilty Man) with Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind. Must have seemed like a good idea at the time. The tune Newcastle is a very popular choice for this hymn as well.
I like singing the hymn to Rest because of pleasant associations with the tune at a church my family attended over thirty-five years ago.
The lyrics:
O Savior, where shall guilty man
find rest except in thee?
Thine was the warfare with his foe,
the cross of pain, the cup of woe,
and thine the victory.
How came the everlasting Son,
the Lord of Life, to die?
Why didst thou meet the tempter’s power,
why, Jesus, in thy dying hour,
endure such agony?
To save us by thy precious blood,
to make us one in thee,
thy thorny crown, thy cross, thy strife,
that ours might be thy perfect life,
and ours the victory.
O make us worthy, gracious Lord,
of all thy love to be;
to thy blest will our wills incline,
that unto death we may be thine,
and ever live in thee.

Here’s a youtube which features the melody Rest.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 17

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 17

Chapter 10 – Of Effectual Calling
I. All those whom God has predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
II. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how he pleases. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
IV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess. And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.