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The Measure Of How Clearly You Understand The Gospel (via Sinclair Ferguson)

Sinclair Ferguson, commenting on Mark 2:1-12 (Jesus’ healing of a paralytic who was lowered through a hole in the ceiling by four men):

“Here Mark unveils what lies at the heart of the gospel: men need forgiveness; Jesus gives it. To the degree to which you see your own need of forgiveness is the measure of how clearly you understand the gospel.”

Sinclair Ferguson, Let’s Study Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1999), 27.

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The Two Lost Sons by Caroline Cobb

Caroline Cobb’s A Home & A Hunger has been released today.
It’s a wonderful album of songs that follow the biblical themes of God’s redemptive purpose.

Here’s a song based on Luke 15, seasoned with observations by Tim Keller: The Two Lost Sons.
Have a listen:

The lyrics:
Verse 1:
I have been the younger son
Chase my pleasure, chase my fun
Build castles in the sand
My own Promise Land
When my kingdoms crumble down
The famine comes, I bottom out
Well I can hear your voice
Call for your little boy
Pre-Chorus 1:
But you were more of a means than a Father
You were drownin’ my dreams underwater
My child, my child I’ll run out to meet you
Come into my house What’s lost can be found
My child, my child come into the party
All I have is yours Don’t stand outside my door
All I have is yours
Verse 2:
I have been the elder son
Slavin’ til the work is done
Just tryin’ to earn my keep
Nothing comes for free
Bitterness was in my blood
From all this tryin’ to be enough
But you love that wayward son

Oh but look at what I’ve done
Pre-Chorus 2:
You were more of a means than a Father
I acted like an employee,
Not a son, not a daughter
Don’t let your pride get in the way
You don’t need to earn my love
Don’t let your guilt get in the way
You don’t need to earn my love
All of those rules that you keep or you break
You don’t need to earn my love
There is a Son that has already paid
You don’t need to earn it
You don’t need to deserve it
Come home, come home!
Come into my joy!
All I have is yours

Words and music by Caroline Cobb (ASCAP).
Copyright 2017 Sing the Story Music. 
CCLI # 7097306. Key: E. Tempo: 150.

Luke 15:11-32. Based on Tim Keller’s Prodigal God.

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Liturgy For The Non-Liturgical Christian (via Stephen McAlpine)

Watch someone with a completely scripted contemporary order of service maintain they’re non-liturgical.
Stephen McAlpine bounces off the observation that all churches have a liturgy of some sort or another, the issue is whether it conveys the reality of the Kingdom of God or is shaped as a pastiche that reflects the Kingdom of the world.
This isn’t a matter of old-fashioned or new-fashioned. It’s a matter of intent and content.
McAlpine states that good liturgy serves as a means for Christians to be re-stored and re-storied.

A sample:

Self-conscious and faithful liturgy re-stories us. We gather to hear that we are in a different story to the stories that we have been plied with all week long. We gather to hear the story that begins in a Garden and ends in a City and that has a vision of the good life and of flourishing centred around the worship of the Lamb, not the worship of the self.
Good liturgy walks us through that story. Not all of it every week. But enough of it over time that we gradually can become impervious to the alternate stories of sex, power and money that are constantly reinventing and re-presenting themselves to us in various guises. Good, self-conscious liturgy is not the sum total of what we do when we gather in various formats as church, indeed it would be strange if it were, but it must the planet at the centre that pulls everything else we do into planetary alignment.
Good liturgy becomes embedded in us so that when those lies come to us as truths, the sheer weight of the truth in us casts them aside, and we find ourselves living liturgically in the gospel due to the sheer length of time we have spent proclaiming true liturgy. Good liturgy doesn’t pretend to be all of our worship, it simply prepares us for a life of worship that is directed towards what is worthy of our worship. Good liturgy sends us out after gathering us in with a clearer sense of the story.
The decision by many churches to cut liturgy at just the time the cultural liturgies were ramping up in energy, was to the church what uni-lateral disarmament was to politics in the 1970s and 1980s.
Both are suicidal and naive.

Read the whole post at Stephen McAlpine.

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This NBN Thing May Be Okay

The National Broadband Network turned up while I was away last week.

I’d have preferred a full fiber to home network, but fiber to the node is all we get for now.

Our plan is 25/5mbps.

It seems to be an improvement.

ADSL Speedtest

NBN Speedtest.

That makes a bit of a difference.

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Ten Signs You’ve Stopped Growing As A Leader (via Chuck Lawless)

Chuck Lawless offers ten signs leaders have stopped growing.
The head points of his list:

  1. You can talk about nothing new about God and His grace.
  2. You’ve read no new books in the last six months.
  3. You are preaching and teaching “re-runs.”
  4. You haven’t recently tackled any “God-sized” challenges.
  5. You haven’t shared the gospel with anyone in months.
  6. All of your stories of God’s work in your life are past tense stories.
  7. You tend to avoid people who differ from you.
  8. You’ve lost your energy and passion for the work.
  9. You no longer seek mentors. Mentors challenge us, stretch us, push us, mold us. And lastly, but most simply…
  10. You just know you’re not growing.

Read his explanations here.

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Rescuer (Good News) – Sunday Songs

Rescuer (Good News) is a new song from Rend Collective.

The lyrics:
There is good news for the captive
Good news for the shamed
There is good news for the one who walked away
There is good news for the doubter
The one religion failed
For the Good Lord has come to seek and save
He’s our rescuer
He’s our rescuer
We are free from sin forever more
Oh how sweet the sound
Oh how grace abounds
We will praise the Lord our rescuer
He is beauty for the blind man
Riches for the poor
He is friendship for the one the world ignores
He is pasture for the weary
Rest for those who strive
For the Good Lord is the way the truth the life
Yes Good Lord is the way the truth the life
Come and be chainless
Come and be fearless
Come to the foot of Calvary
There is redemption
For every affliction
Here at the foot of Calvary

Words & Music: (c) 2017 Rend Collective

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 39

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 39

Chapter 23 – Of the Civil Magistrate
I. God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end, has armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil-doers.
II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
III. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and Sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; yet he has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.
IV. It is the duty of the people to pray for magistrates, to honour their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrate’s just and legal authority, nor free the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted; much less has the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.