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Armed For Battle 2 (preparing for mgpc 26/2/17)

Songs of preparation: Why Do Gentile Nations Rage (Psalm 2) and Come, People Of The Risen King.
Call to worship:
Praise: Come, O Fount Of Every Blessing.
Prayer of adoration and confession:
Scripture assurance, confession of faith, doxology: Create In Me A Clean Heart; The Apostles’ Creed; Unto God Be Praise And Honour.
Continuous reading: Daniel 10: 1 – 21 – In the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., two to three years after the prayer of Daniel in chapter 9, Daniel is terrified by a vision of a heavenly being, which he receives while still in Babylon.
Bible Memorisation: Ephesians 6: 11
Praise: I Will Sing The Wondrous Story.
Scripture reading: Ephesians 6: 15 – 16.
Sermon: Armed For Battle 2 – Paul continues to explain how the Gospel enables us to stand our ground and be able to move; and how faith is a protection against attacks of doubt and unbelief.
Pastoral prayer.
Tithes and offerings.
Departing praise: Who Has Held The Oceans / Behold Our God.

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Don’t Surprise More Than Necessary (via Gavin Ortlund)

In a post containing five leadership lessons by Gavin Ortlund, I found this one about communicating when change is going happen sums up a lot of principles I use.
It’s about showing respect, building consensus, and avoiding misunderstanding.

Don’t surprise more than necessary.
People don’t like unpleasant surprises. We know this in principle — but how easy it is to forget in practice! We rarely over-communicate, but frequently under-communicate. It is almost instinctive, when we are up in the cockpit flying the plane, to forget to give regular updates to the passengers. But a well-timed “heads up” can do wonders for maintaining harmony and trust throughout the group.

A good leader learns the value of sentences that begin like this:

  • “So you are not surprised when it happens, I want to let you know in advance . . .”
  • “Just as a reminder, to make sure we are all on the same page . . .”
  • “I want to give you an update on the progress since our last meeting so you’re not in the dark . . .”

Here are some practical ways to make sure communication doesn’t slip through the cracks:

  • At the end of every meeting, or every major policy decision, ask the question: “Who would benefit from being informed of our conversation?” And then appoint someone to do the communication.
  • Before announcing a big change or decision publicly, do the hard work of communicating privately as much as is appropriate. Meet with people one-on-one to win them over and build consensus.

Read the whole post at Desiring God.

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Abbey Road Live

Go to this webpage that features a live camera feed focussed on the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing made famous by the Beatles.
Watch as almost minute by minute foursomes stop and reenact the iconic pose as they cross.
Cute idea.
Mount Gambier has no pedestrian crossings.
If they tried that here lots of people would get driven over.
Abbey Road.

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Once And For All (via Scotty Smith)

From Scotty Smith’s prayer/blog Heavenward:

The Once-and-For-All-ness of Jesus’ Single Sacrifice for Our Sins

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, once and for all. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Heb. 10:11-14 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, O, the wonder of this Good News … We cannot hear it too much, believe it too deeply, or rejoice in it too fully. By your death on the cross, you have taken away our sins, once and for all. Nothing is left undone; nothing more needs to happen; nothing else could’ve met our need. It’s not, you did your part, now we must do our part. It’s, you did your part; now let us trust in your part.
And now, having justified us by your finished work, you’re perfecting us by your Holy Spirit. We who’ve been declared perfectly righteous will be made perfectly holy—not by our grit, but by your grace. One Day we’ll be as lovely and as loving as you, Lord Jesus. Justification now flows sweetly into sanctification; sanctification will eventuate into glorification, and glorification will be the beginning of our eternal vacation—a life of never-ending rest and worship, adventure and creativity, perfect relationships and perfect everything!
Even as we rest in your finished work, so we rejoice in your present reign, Lord Jesus. Atoned-for-sin will be abolished sin; already-defeated evil will be eradicated evil; vanquished enemies will be eliminated enemies. May the joy of this good news buckle our knees in humble adoration, and empower our hands for neighbor love.
As we are loved, so let us love; as we have been served, so let us serve; as we are encouraged, so let us encourage one another. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.


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The Reformation And Preaching (via Timothy George)

In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, much will be written about the theological emphases of that era in church history.
Timothy George writes about the way in which reformation theology transformed worship and the place and function of the sermon.
From his article, two ways in which preaching was transformed by the reformers:

First, they made the sermon the centerpiece of the church’s regular worship. Prior to the Reformation, the sermon was mostly an ad hoc event reserved for special occasions or seasons of the liturgical cycle, especially Christmas and Eastertide. Most sermons were preached in town squares or open fields. The reformers brought the sermon back inside the church and gave it an honored place in the public worship of the gathered community. The central role of preaching in Protestant worship can be seen in the way pulpits were raised to a higher elevation as families gathered with their children to hear the Word proclaimed.
Second, the reformers introduced a new theology of preaching. They were concerned that the Bible take deep root in the lives of the people. The Word of God was meant not only to be read, studied, translated, memorized, and meditated on; it was also to be embodied in the life and worship of the church. What might be called the practicing of the Bible—its embodiment—was most clearly expressed in the ministry of preaching. Martin Luther believed that a call to the preaching office was a sacred trust and shouldn’t be used for selfish purposes. “Christ did not establish the ministry of proclamation to provide us with money, property, popularity, honor, or friendship,” he said.

George includes some quotes from the Reformers and more material on the subject in this article at the Gospel Coalition.

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Character Versus Personality

The local pastors were musing on the necessity of pastoral leadership to be qualified by character and not personality this morning.
The culture in which we live values celebrity, which stands in contrast to the incarnational values of the kingdom.
From Zack Eswine.

The Origin of Celebrity Culture
Celebrity culture comes from at least two places. First, it has simply been here since the garden. In the very beginning when the devil said, “You can be like God,” there was an invitation to take center stage. Now that desire to take center stage is in each of us as human beings.
Second, we live in a selfie culture. With all of its strengths, it is still a culture that says “Put yourself forward.” Those two things then converge: our inward desire to be somebody, and the external culture that says you can be.
The Struggle We Face
When we look at the Gospels we see that Jesus is very fame-shy. He is constantly moving in places that other people wouldn’t go. He is constantly moving to people that other people would overlook. And he calls us to that kind of life. So we wrestle with this invitation to do a truly great thing by serving the least, while inside of us and outside of us we’re pressured to make much of ourselves.