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Community Created Through The Word (via Sinclair Ferguson)

The Bible is central to Christian worship, not simply as the source for information to be taught and the basis for our shared belief, but because it is the way God grows Christians as the body of Christ.
From Sinclair Ferguson.

I’m not a great fan of the expression “means of grace,” but I think we shouldn’t miss out from this the pattern of, for example, Ephesians 4 with its emphasis on the ministry of the word in what it actually produces in the life of the church—where it produces a community in which each part is doing its work properly and upbuilds itself in love.
We’re not just a teaching institution. The word of God creates a new kind of community. And so the preaching of the word without the creation of that new kind of community ordinarily does not make the same evangelistic impact on the world around. But the creation of that community helps people to see that the word that is preached has illustrations in the life of this new community that are beyond contradiction.
Often one finds that people who think little of the gospel find that they cannot contradict the reality they experience when they come among God’s people. And it’s that reality that begins to work in their hearts to open their ears to listen to what the word is actually saying.
When we speak about the means of grace and the importance of the preaching of the word, we’re not saying that all we need is more ministers, or even all we need is more preaching, but what is produced by that.


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Deliver Us (preparing for MGPC 24/3/19)

Song: From The Day
Call to Worship
Song: In Tenderness
Prayer Of Confession
Song: How Sweet The Name
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 12
Song: Unto God Be Praise And Honour
Bible Reading: Zechariah 12: 1-14 – From Chapter 12 to the end of Zechariah’s prophesy the focus is the judgment of the nations and the salvation of Jerusalem. That salvation ultimately is not merely deliverance from earthly enemies, but spiritual salvation through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Messiah “whom they have pierced”(12:10; John19:37).
Bible Memorisation: 1 Corinthians 10:13b
Song: Worship The Lord
Bible Reading: James 1: 2-18
Sermon: Deliver Us
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: Build Your Kingdom Here


90’s Church Revitalisation Documentary

I’m watching what seems to be a documentary from the 1990s about church revitalisation.
It may be a little bit dated, but I’m sure the basic principles will come back into style again.

It is also has a number of very skilled character actors playing very charming characters.
Mary Wickes as Sister Mary Lazarus is wonderful.

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The Vanilla Slice As A Metaphor For Organisational Culture (via Rhonda Brighton-Hall at MWAH)

Thanks to Byron at the Snot Blog for pointing out this crisp yet creamy comparison between effective organisational culture and vanilla slice.
From the article:

Vanilla Slices, and our quest to find, describe, and prescribe the perfect one, is not dissimilar to our passion for good organisational culture.
You may think that’s a stretch, but let me explain.
The Connection
Vanilla Slices are so simple and clear.
A layer of foundational pastry, a much bigger layer of delicious custard, another layer of pastry to hold shape, and then a slither of icing.
And what is culture?
Foundational standards – emotion and relationships – a top layer of boundaries to hold it all in shape, and a slither of PR.

Read the post at MWAH.

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Footy Tipping 2019 – NRL Round 2 / AFL Round 1

I literally have no idea what’s going on in the AFL. Which I think means not a lot has changed. Teams on the up will improve, teams on the decline will slip.
Over the last ten or fifteen years a few teams have circumvented this cycle by instituting a club culture that has gotten away from boom or bust cycles.
Others have a club culture that means success is not attainable, even when they have lucked into a relatively talented list.
NRL results were interesting, primarily because it seems as if last season’s major under-performers, North Queensland, have recovered a lapse last season. Didn’t expect Souths to click so fast under their new coach.

NRL (last round 5/8; season tally 5/8)
North Queensland

Adelaide (at home)
West Coast
Saint Kilda (if they can’t beat Gold Coast at home it’ll be a long season)
Greater Western Sydney
North Melbourne (who always lose round 1)

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An Unhelpful Dualism In Church Governance (via Dan Hotchkiss)

I grew up with a church system that had two bodies, one tasked with spiritual and the other tasked with temporal matters.
It is not a helpful distinction in so far as everything is spiritual and practical. At its worst the ‘temporal’ body can use its power to veto the plans of the ‘spiritual’ body, effectively putting themselves in charge. At its best the ‘spiritual’ body works with the ‘temporal’ body in developing plans and the ‘temporal’ body sees its role as enabling the decisions of the ‘spiritual’ body, not as determining whether they should happen.
Our system allows for members of the ‘spiritual’ body to be automatic members of the ‘temporal’ body, which generally means they could get their way if they wanted, but, from a governance perspective, the notion that control of what happens rests with the ‘temporal’ body creates an unproductive dynamic that is resistant to change and protects the status-quo.
From Dan Hotchkiss:

Some congregations have two, or even three, top boards, all responsible directly to the congregation. Sometimes the division reflects an old-fashioned mom-and-pop dualism: The board of trustees (pop) controls the money, while a program board (mom) does most Of the work. Sometimes one board is said to be responsible for the “business” aspect of the congregation, while the other takes charge of the “spiritual” part. Have I made it clear yet that I don’t like this way of splitting up the universe? Whoever controls “business” ends up having ultimate control of spiritual matters also.

Dan Hotchkiss, Governance And Ministry, Rowland & Littlefield, 2016, pg 44.

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Gather Ye by Ron Block and Jeff Taylor

Gather Ye is recorded by Ron Block and Jeff Taylor, as written by Rebecca Reynolds and included on the album Trouble Go Down.