mgpcpastor's blog

Leave a comment

Broken Homes In The Bible (via Richard Pratt)

When faced with brokenness in families it is tempting to confuse obedience to God’s precepts with obligating God by obedience to his precepts.
Richard Pratt writes about brokenness in families, which will be present everywhere because families are made up of imperfect people:
An excerpt:

In recent decades, Christian television has spread what many call the “prosperity gospel” — the misguided belief that if we have enough faith, God will heal our diseases and provide us with great financial blessings. Of course, most people reading this article scoff at the thought that faith can yield such benefits. But don’t laugh too hard. We have our own prosperity gospel for our families. We simply replace having enough faith with having enough obedience. We believe that we can lift our families out of their brokenness if we conform to God’s commands.
You’ve probably encountered this outlook at one time or another. Teachers and pastors tell wives that they will enjoy wonderful relationships with their husbands and children if they will become “an excellent wife” (Prov. 31:10). After all, Proverbs 31:28 says: “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her.” At men’s conferences, fathers recommit themselves for the sake of their children because “the righteous who walks in his integrity — blessed are his children after him!” (Prov. 20:7). In much the same way, young parents are led to believe that the eternal destinies of their children depend on strict and consistent training. You know the verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Passages like these have been taken as indicating that Christian families experience blessings and loss from God, quid pro quo. We believe that God promises a wonderful family life to those who obey His commands.
Now, we need to be clear here. The proverbs commend certain paths to family members because they reflect the ways God ordinarily distributes His blessings. But ordinarily does not mean necessarily. Excellent wives have good reason to expect honor from their husbands and children. Fathers with integrity often enjoy seeing God’s blessings on their children. Parents who train their children in the fear of the Lord follow the path that frequently brings children to saving faith. But excellent wives, faithful husbands, and conscientious parents often endure terrible hardship in their homes because proverbs are not promises. They are adages that direct us toward general principles that must be applied carefully in a fallen world where life is always somewhat out of kilter. As the books of Job and Ecclesiastes illustrate so vividly, we misconstrue the Word of God when we treat proverbs as if they were divine promises.
Quite often, there are correlations between obedience and blessings, as well as between disobedience and loss. But never be fooled into thinking you are able to figure out what God will do next in someone’s family.

Read the whole article at Keylife (who have sourced it from Ligonier)

Leave a comment

Canticle Of The Turning by Theresa Donohoo – Christmas Songs 2019 Day 4

Canticle Of The Turning, by Rory Cooney, sung by Theresa Donohoo.
A song based on the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise in Luke’s Gospel.
There’s lots of renditions of this around, it goes well in Celtic, folk, or even light classic renditions.
This is a classic version of the song.

Leave a comment

Hippo For Christmas by Kate Rusby

A charming rendition of I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas from Kate Rusby.
It is possible that some people have never heard this song.
This should happily rectify that.

Leave a comment

Communal Lament And The Humanisation Of Suffering (via Eugene Peterson)

When faced with suffering, pastoral ministry does not try to fix the one who is suffering. Instead the one who suffers is taken seriously and offered a fellowship of faithful companionship to be with them in the darkness.
This is not therapeutic, it is is ministry.
Encouraging grief and suffering to be expressed in isolation, or separated from others is not strength. It is a denial of the community and humanity which suffering can lead to.
From Eugene Peterson.

One of the strategies for pastoral work is to enter private grief and make a shared event of it. The biblical way to deal with suffering is to transform what is individual into something corporate. No single person’s sin produced the sufferings consequent to Jerusalem’s fall, and no single person ought to mourn them: response to suffering is a function of the congregation.
When private grief is integrated into communal lament several things take place. For one thing the acts of suffering develops significance. If others weep with me, there must be more to the suffering than may own petty weakness or selfish sense of loss. When others join the sufferer, there is “consensual validation” that the suffering means something. The community votes with its tears that there is suffering that is worth weeping over.
Further, community participation insures a human environment. The threat of dehumanisation to which all pain exposes us – of being reduced to the the level of he “the beasts that perish” – is countered by the presence of the other persons whose humanity is unmistakeable. The person who, through stubbornness or piety, insists on grieving privately not only depersonalises himself or herself but robs the community of participation in what necessarily expands its distinctiveness as a human community as over against the mob.
Again, when the community joins in the lament, sanction is given for the expression of loss – the outpouring of emotion is legitimised in such a way as to provide for catharsis and then renewal.

Eugene Peterson, Five Smooth Stones For Pastoral Work, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992 ed., pgs 142, 143.

Leave a comment

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Sara Groves – Christmas Songs 2019 Day 3

Another Advent-mode choice.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Sara Groves; it’s more or less the title track from her newly released album Joy Of Every Longing Heart.

Leave a comment

A Wassailer’s Guide To Christmas Carols by Sara Groves

Sara Groves has a /christmas album out as well.
These videos A Wassailer’s Guide To Christmas Carols examine some of th more esoteric aspects of seasonal song.
1. Moving punctuation.

2. On traditional texts and regional tunes. (with some weird lyrics being sung to a traditional tune)

3. Antiphons. O Antiphons. (The secret origin of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)

4. The secret origin of Come, O Long Expected Jesus. (which will feature on Christmas songs tomorrow.)

Leave a comment

Zechariah And The Least Expected Places by Ben Thomas – Christmas Songs 2019 Day 2

I’m trying to include some advent-y songs early in the month.
Here’s Zechariah And The Least Expected Places by Ben Thomas.