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How Long? – Sunday Songs

After considering Psalm 58 tonight at mgpc I thought using Stuart Townend’s How Long (We Have Sung Our Songs Of Victory) to conclude worship.
The concluding point of the sermon was that God has really demonstrated His justice in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Evil is defeated, but we await the time when that defeat will be fully realised in a new heavens and new earth.
There is a sense of longing expectation that this song expresses.
A lament over the continuing effects of brokenness, suffused with the knowledge that all this suffering will be only a memory in eternity.
The song is also interesting as an early example of Townend’s transition into the more conscious ‘hymn’ form that now characterises his work.
The lyrics:
We have sung our songs of victory,
We have prayed to You for rain;
We have cried for Your compassion
To renew the land again.
Now we’re standing in Your presence,
More hungry than before;
Now we’re on Your steps of mercy,
And we’re knocking at Your door.
How long before You drench the barren land?
How long before we see Your righteous hand?
How long before Your name is lifted high?
How long before the weeping turns to songs of joy?
Lord, we know Your heart is broken
By the evil that You see,
And You’ve stayed Your hand of judgement
For You plan to set men free.
But the land is still in darkness,
And we’ve fled from what is right;
We have failed the silent children
Who will never see the light.
But I know a day is coming
When the deaf will hear His voice,
When the blind will see their Saviour,
And the lame will leap for joy.
When the widow finds a Husband
Who will always love His bride,
And the orphan finds a Father
Who will never leave her side.

How long before Your glory lights the skies?
How long before Your radiance lifts our eyes?
How long before Your fragrance fills the air?
How long before the earth resounds with songs of joy?

Stuart Townend
Copyright © 1997 Thankyou Music

Here’s a video setting of a recording.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 26

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 26

Chapter 16 – Of Good Works (Cont.) (Paragraphs 1-4)
V. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the severity of God’s judgment.
VI. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

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Gracious News For Now And Eternity (mgpc 30/6/2013)

As Paul writes to Titus he introduces the theme of his letter in its introduction. God cares for His people through the proclamation by which they are brought into His kingdom and guided in their lives as part of that kingdom. We enjoy God’s grace and peace, and loving fellowship with His family.

Psalm 77 (The LORD’s deeds I remember all) and Far And Near are the songs of preparation, with All Creatures Of Our God And King commencing worship.
The prayer of adoration and confession will praise God for His grace and confess our continuing need for it, and our thankfulness for the peace we have with Him.
My Faith Looks Up To See, The Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow will be our corporate confession.
Hearing from God’s Word, Jeremiah 29:1-32 will contain the prophet’s urging to God’s people in exile in light of the pending destruction of Jerusalem.
These Are The Days Of Elijah is a song which expresses joy about the fulfilled promises of God in this present age.
After reading Titus 1:1-16 we’ll consider verse 1-4, Paul’s formal introduction to the letter. We’ll see the warmth of relationships which God creates with, and among His people. The instrument by which these relationships are created are God’s power working through the proclamation of His Word.
After our prayers of thanksgiving and for the needs of others, we’ll give our tithes and offerings then conclude worship singing As You Go.

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Letters To A Young Pastor by Calvin Miller – Kindle Edition Available Free From Amazon

Letters-To-A-Young-Pastor-200x300Calvin Miller’s Letters To A Young Pastor is currently available free at Amazon for the Kindle edition.
Any pastor or church leader will find something to think about by reading this book.
Thanks to Gospel eBooks.
This offer is available for a limited time.
If you get there and it’s not free, you’re too late, sorry.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Seven Ministries Of The Church (via Crossway Blog)

From Stephen J Nichols’ Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World, published by at Crossway.
Nichols seeks to express Bonhoeffer’s every Christian ministry paradigm with these examples:

  1. The ministry of holding one’s tongue
    Bonhoeffer pegs silence as a self-discipline worthy of highest virtue. “Where the discipline of the tongue is practiced right from the beginning, each individual will make a matchless discovery. He will be able to cease from constantly scrutinizing the other person, judging him, condemning him, putting him in a particular place where he can gain ascendency over him.”
  2. The ministry of meekness
    “He who would learn to serve must first to learn to think little of himself.”
  3. The ministry of listening
    Listening—attentive, sympathetic listening—comes far too hard for us. Comparatively, talking comes far too easy. It’s the reason James the brother of Jesus had to warn us to be “quick to hear” and “slow to speak” (James 1:19) and not the other way around. As Bonhoeffer points out, “He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too.”
  4. The ministry of helpfulness
    Bonhoeffer challenges us here to “be interrupted by God,” to put our plans on hold and to help those who come across our path and need help.
  5. The ministry of bearing
    Not only are we called to help, but we are also called to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Bonhoeffer speaks of it as our duty; in fact, he says, “It is the fellowship of the cross to bear the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian. If any member refuses to bear that burden he denies the law of Christ.”
  6. The ministry of proclaiming
    Once these first five ministries and their respective obligations are in place, then Bonhoeffer turns to the “platform” ministries. Bonhoeffer stresses the need for authentic Christian living before the action of proclamation. To put this colloquially, one needs to “walk the walk.”
  7. The ministry of authority
    The exercise of pastoral authority — the second of the “platform” ministries. Bonhoeffer makes the case that without the first five ministries, the platform ministries, just like the preaching in the opening scene of his novel, become little more than the bellowing of hot air.

    Read the whole post at Crossway.

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Football Tips – NRL Round 16 / AFL Round 14 2013

The AFL are kicking off on Thursday this week.
Last week provided a couple of upsets, but wins for Brisbane and Port Adelaide are always welcome.
In the NRL, Easts demonstrated that they have a squad to be reckoned with this year.
With both competitions having completed the same number of games as of last weekend, the difference in correct predictions below gives some insight into the volatility of the NRL.

NRL (last round 3/4; season tally 73/111)
A short round due to State Of Origin 2 last Wednesday night. (And what a splendid result that was.)
Penrith (at home, a raffle otherwise)
Gold Coast
New Zealand
North Queensland

AFL (last round 4/6; season tally 85/111)
Celebrating a return to a full round with games spread over four days.
Adelaide (Gold Coast’s form has been better)
Geelong (Expect humiliated Cats to make a point)
Western Bulldogs
North Melbourne