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The Brave One by Andy Gullahorn

The Brave One.
From Andy Gullahorn’s album Everything As It Should Be.


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The Deceit Of Riches (via Mez McConnell)

Mez McConnell reflects on Jesus observation about wealth being an obstruction to entering the kingdom of God and the implications of that for evangelism and church planting:

The Danger of Wealth
Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, right? What he’s saying is this: When you’ve got money, when you’ve got material wealth, when you’ve got comfort, you feel invincible. You feel like you don’t need God. You don’t feel—at least in your outward portrayal—a spiritual need.
And so people become very hard, very bitter, very intellectually opposed to gospel truths. Whereas in less privileged communities, people are not necessarily happy, but they are more likely to admit they’re sinful, to admit that their lives aren’t perfect, to admit there’s a problem.
People in poor or ethically deprived communities are very supernaturalistic, so you meet very few atheists in such communities. These people’s problems aren’t necessarily with God (although they can be), but with the concept of church. People in that community see the church as a middle-class intellectual institution—which it largely is—and so apologetically, that’s the battle we’re fighting.
I think people in rich communities—with two cars on the drive, a nice house, and a full bank balance—in many ways are much harder to reach because all that wealth and comfort makes them think that they’re invincible. It may make them think that they don’t need anything outside of themselves. I often say that in many ways, my friends who work, reach, and plant in these communities are in very, very hard places.

source


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Ancient Of Days by CityAlight – Sunday Songs

CityAlight have released a song titled Ancient Of Days on their recent EP Yet Not I.
A reflective testimony of faith.
A good a song to conclude another year of praise, a good song to commence another year of praise.

1.
Though the nations rage
Kingdoms rise and fall
There is still one king
Reigning over all
So I will not fear
For this truth remains:
That my God is, the Ancient of Days
Chorus.
None above him, none before him
All of time in His hands
For His throne it shall remain and ever stand
All the power all the glory
I will trust in His name
For my God is, the Ancient of Days
2.
Though the dread of night
Overwhelms my soul
He is here with me
I am not alone
O his love is sure
And He knows my name
For my God is, the Ancient of Days
Chorus.
3.
Though I may not see
What the future brings
I will watch and wait
For the Saviour king
Then my joy complete
Standing face to face
In the presence of the Ancient of Days

Words and Music: Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, Michael Farren & Jesse Reeves
© 2018 CityAlight Music


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 52

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 52

127.
Q. What is the sixth petition?
A. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” That is: since we are so weak that we cannot stand by ourselves for one moment, and besides, since our sworn enemies, the devil, the world, and our own sin, ceaselessly assail us, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us through the power of your Holy Spirit so that we may stand firm against them, and not be defeated in this spiritual warfare, until at last we obtain complete victory.

128.
Q. How do you close this prayer?
A. “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.” That is: we ask all this of you because, as our King, you are willing and able to give us all that is good since you have power over all things, and that by this not we ourselves but your holy name may be glorified forever.

129.
Q. What is the meaning of the little word “Amen”?
A. Amen means: this shall truly and certainly be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard by God than I am persuaded in my heart that I desire such things from him.

And that brings the fifty-two weeks of 2018 to a close.
In 2019 I’ll be following the New City Catechism.
There doesn’t seem to be a New Provincial Town Catechism.


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Single-Minded Focus In An Age Of Multi-Tasking (via John Muether at Ligonier)

Gathering to worship God bids us do one thing at once with all our focus.
This runs counter to the growing tendency to split attention between any number of tasks, giving full attention to nothing.
God deserves nothing less than undivided attention.
From John Muether:

Single-minded attention is strange to us, even in worship, because we take pride in our ability to navigate our busyness with speed and nimbleness. In a multitasking world, Marva Dawn rightly concedes that worship is a “royal waste of time” because we are focused on something that our frenetic culture dismisses as inefficient. And yet, neuroscientists have come to the consensus that multitasking is a myth. We accomplish far less when we juggle several tasks than when we focus on one thing at a time. What is worse, our digitally enhanced distractions are becoming addictive: our brains crave constant stimulation and instant gratification. How ironic, then, that we program our phones with “alerts” and “notifications” for so-called breaking news when they have the effect of diminishing our alertness, prompting thoughtlessness and negligence to the task at hand. In sum, the spirit of our age is inimical to the careful and sustained attention that public worship demands.
Is it possible anymore to resist the persistent distractions of our digital age that obscure the message of the gospel? We need not abandon such a hope. Traditional church practices refocus our attention on the gospel and enable our worship of the transcendent God. Public worship and Sabbath keeping are the most culturally disruptive witnesses for Christians to practice. On a day designed for the soul to feast, we must resist habits that distract us and others. I am trying to go completely offline during the day. It is proving to be a great struggle, but I trust that it will awaken me from the stupor that can come from living in a culture that prizes distraction.

source.


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The End Of The Matter (preparing for MGPC 30/12/2018)

Song: Saviour Of The World
Welcome
Call to Worship
Song: Saved My Soul
Prayer Of Confession
Song: My Faith Looks Up To See
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 52
Song: Worship, Honour, Glory, Blessing
Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-17 – Warnings against idleness and concluding benediction.
Bible Memorisation: Mark 9:50
Song: Hushed Was The Evening Hymn
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14
Sermon: The End Of The Matter
Song: Never Alone
Announcements
Pastoral Prayer
Closing Blessing
Song: All Glory Be To Christ


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The Warning Signs Of Preaching Idolatry (via Lewis Allen and The Preacher’s Catechism)

From Lewis Allen’s The Preacher’s Catechism – Q&A 23: What does the second commandment teach us? – You shall not make a preaching idol of your image or anyone else’s.

Here are some warning signs that you could be in danger of preaching idolatry:
You can never read the Bible for your own soul’s profit. It just doesn’t seem important anymore. Now you’re consumed with studying the Bible for the sake of others. In fact, when you do sit down to read your Bible, you actually start noting how you could preach the passage, and you’re halfway through preparing an out- line before you realize it. Maybe your soul is starting to shrivel just as your work expands.
You can never say no to a sermon. You get restless when you’re not preaching on a Sunday. You struggle to listen to the truth of a sermon, because instead you’re critiquing the sermon. You’re always looking for more opportunities to preach. Called you may be, and compelled to preach — well, that’s a given; but are you a preaching obsessive?

The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen, Crossway, 2018, pg 126.