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Breaking The Growth Barrier That Matters (via Steve McAlpine)

Why as a church would we be expressing an aim for two worship services on a Sunday morning instead of one?
It’s a question we’re working through at MGPC.
Steve McAlpine writes about the struggle of the church (his and others) to break through a growth barrier that does more than simply keep pace with population growth.
But there’s a less noticed, but more foundational growth barrier that needs to be broken first, and then the other growth barrier may give way:

…the real growth barrier that I want to see broken is actually being broken, as we showcase Christ from the front, and encourage our people to find their joy in him. We’re finding that this is breaking growth barrier of personal maturity among our people.
That’s the growth barrier that really matters – the growth and maturity of our people individually and as a body of believers. We’re trusting them to feed on the Word together and grow up as a Christians. We’re trusting that our ministry to them is helping them take responsibility both to serve and to learn and to share the gospel in word and deed for themselves. We’re trusting our sermons and teaching not to be about “do more”, “get involved in…”, “turn up at..”, “do more evangelism”, but to be about the wonder of Jesus and how he fulfils all of God’s promises that humans yearn for, even if they don’t realise it.

Read his whole post here.

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Nothing To Prove by The Hedgerow Folk

The Hedgerow Folk took their band’s name from a line in a poem by C.S. Lewis.
This is the first track from their second album, Compass.
Nothing To Prove.

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A Place Where Love Comes True (via Jon Bloom)

Jon Bloom writes about the nature of the church at Desiring God.
Church is never an extension of our agenda.
It’s the place where our agendas yield to the purpose of growing like Jesus.
Jesus did not design the church to be a place where our dreams come true. Actually, it’s where many of our dreams are disappointed and die. And this is more of a grace to us than we likely realize, because our dreams are often much more selfish than we discern.
Our personal expectations easily become tyrants to everyone else, because everyone else fails to meet them. When we are more focused on how others’ failings and foibles obstruct the ideal community we want to pursue than we are on serving those others and pursuing their good and joy, our expectations can kill love, which impedes the real mission.
Jesus designed the church to be a place where love comes true, where we lay our preferences aside out of deference to others. It is meant to be a living laboratory of love, a place where there are so many opportunities, big and small, to lay down our lives for each other that the love of Christ becomes a public spectacle.
That’s why when it comes to church in this age, the picture of community we should have in our minds is not some utopian harmony, but Golgotha. In living life together, we die every day (1 Corinthians 15:31). We lay down our lives for each other (1 John 3:16).

Read the whole post at Desiring God.

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Pastors Exist For The Church, Not The Other Way Around (via Francis Turretin)

The church does not exist for the sake of pastors; pastors exist for the sake of the church.
It’s a helpful reminder of who is supposed to be serving who.
Shane Lems refers to this quote from Francis Turretin:

“…Now the church is superior to pastors, not pastors to the church; the church does not belong to the pastors, but the pastors to the church. ‘All things are yours,’ says Paul, ‘whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas’ (1 Cor. 3:21-22). Here he rebukes those who gloried in men as heads and for whose sake they raised dissensions and parties among the Corinthians. He shows that they acted falsely because the church is greater than and superior to all. Hence pastors are called servants and ministers of the church: ‘We are your servants for Jesus’ sake’ (2 Cor. 4:5).”

Read the whole post at The Reformed Reader.

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I Have A Peace by Matt Papa

I Have A Peace.
A track from Church Songs, an EP by Matt Papa that was released late 2016.

Verse 1
I have a peace I can’t explain
That goes beyond the sorrow
For there’s a truth I can’t erase
Your love is my tomorrow
Through deepest loss, through highest gains
I have a brighter treasure
The grass will die, the flower fade
But God is mine forever
Verse 2
I have a peace when fears arise
And waters roar around me
Through many storms and sleepless nights
A quiet grace surrounds me
I know not what the future holds
I know who holds the future
When all I fear is all that’s true
Your perfect love is truer
Verse 3
I have a peace with God and man
For you have reconciled me
I was at war, you came, a friend
To serve and stand beside me
Though wounds are deep and anger burns
You showed me true forgiveness
So I’ll extend what I have learned
The gift the peace of God is
Through deepest loss, through highest gains
I have a brighter treasure
The grass will die, the flower fade
But God is mine forever

Written by Matt Papa (ASCAP), Aaron Keyes (ASCAP)
© 2016 Common Hymnal Publishing (ASCAP), 10000 Fathers (ASCAP), Love Your Enemies Music (ASCAP) (admin by

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This Promise – Sunday Songs

This Promise.
From EMU Youth’s EP This Is The One.

The lyrics:
For heartache, for sorrow
For every hard tomorrow
For weakness, for sickness
There is hope
Our God is good and faithful
Our God is more than able
We stand upon this promise
Through trials, through chaos
When we can’t feel you with us
In darkness, in sadness
You are there
You are our King, the Saving One
You are our strength, our joy, our song
You are the Christ, the risen Lord
You are our hope and our reward
You are our King, the Saving One
You are our strength, our joy, our song
You are the name above all names
In every season we proclaim

Words & Music: © 2016 Liv Chapman