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First Mile Road Map (mgpc 25/8/2013)

Christian life and local church life are organic. It’s not a matter of believe this first, then do some things and later on do some other things.
With faith comes a new life, and that new life serves and ministers near and far right from the very beginning.
Both for individual Christians and local churches.

Psalm 82 (God Is In His Congregation) and From Heaven You Came (The Servant King) are the songs of preparation with Come Now, Almighty King commencing worship.
Our prayer of confession will thank God for salvation and for the life of ministry and mission we share as His people.
You Gave Your Life (If Christ Be God), the Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow are the assurance of faith, testimony and affirmation.
From the Bible, continuing through Jeremiah with chapter 35:1-19, God admonishes the people of Judah for lacking the faithfulness of the Rechabites.
After singing Now Thank We All Our God, we’ll hear the final verses of Titus and consider 12-15.
Though they are a heartfelt farewell, they serve to sum up the message of the letter: right belief is essential for Godly ministry and mission by Christians in a local church.
This truth is applied in these words as we consider the planning evident in church life, the consideration of the needs of others and the preparation required to be ready when help is needed.
As these directions and description show, there is no ‘second mile’ work in local church life. There is no base line of activity which must be established before ministry work outside its bounds can be undertaken.
Right from the outset a believing fellowship will care for each other, and grow in their awareness of how they can help support Gospel ministry in other places.
After our pastoral prayer and the giving of our tithes and offerings, we’ll conclude worship singing He Walked On Earth (Behold The Lamb Of God).

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When Devotion Leads To Distraction (mgpc 18/8/2013)

When a newcomer enthusiastically talks of every failing of their last two or three churches while going on to say how wonderful the teaching/fellowship/doctrine of their present church is, you have two choices.
Tell them straight away that in all likelihood it won’t be long before they’ll find their current church as bad as all the others; or just wait and they’ll do it soon enough anyway.
Some folk are devoted to the Gospel, others are devoted to arguing and having their own way.
The second group can look like the first, but by their fruit you can know them.

When Morning Gilds The Skies and Yours Is The Kingdom are the songs of preparation before we commence worship with O Worship The King All Glorious Above.
Our prayer of confession will express sorrow for those times we have used our passion in the life of the kingdom simply to get our own way, and thank God for our Saviour Jesus who did not seek His own way, but that of the Father.
Before The Throne Of God Above, The Apostle’s Creed and Now To The King Of Heaven will be our confession of faith and testimony of assurance.
Jeremiah 34:1-22 recounts the condemnation upon King Zedekiah and the people of Israel for freeing and re-enslaving brother Israelites.
God Is Our Strength And Refuge will be the response.
Again reading Titus 3:1-11, this week the focus falls on verses 8-11.
Having commended devotion to the Gospel as the means by which commitment to ministry, fellowship and care will be sustained Paul also provides caution about the danger of being devoted to secondary issues. Such a devotion will display itself in divisiveness and those who engage in it must not be indulged.
Only that which pertains to the Gospel is to be our focus.
After our pastoral prayers, we’ll give our tithes and offerings and conclude worship singing Consider Christ.

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Remembering What We Were, Living What We Are (mgpc 11/8/2013)

The Christian revisits their past life, not to wallow in guilt or shame, but to be reminded of the transformation to a new way of living which is their present.

Glory Of Glories and Glorious Things Of You Are Spoken begin our worship, as we praise the one who has redeemed us, and made us his dwelling place.
After the welcome, our prayer of confession will acknowledge our disobedience and neglect of God’s commands, and thanking him for forgiveness and the Spirit who enables us more and more to not simply repent, but live in kingdom obedience.
I Will Sing The Wondrous Story, The Nicene Creed, and Worship, Honour, Glory, Blessing will be the testimony and affirmation.
Jeremiah 33:1-26 reveals God’s restoration promises for the exiled people, promises which are ultimately kept in Jesus.
Following on, we sing I Will Glory In My Redeemer.
After reading from Titus 3 the focus will turn to verses three to eight where again any burden about the difficulties of obedience is lifted with Paul’s reminder for the Christians to remember what they were, what they are now, and how and why they have entered that state. Some Christians remember their past and feel unworthy of their present status, but in reality we should remember what we were in order to better appreciate what we are becoming.
Our response to God’s Word will include the Lord’s Supper, which we’ll prepare for singing According To Your Gracious Word.
The pastoral prayer, the giving of our tithes and offerings will lead to the conclusion of worship, the song All My Days (Beautiful Saviour).

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Godliness In The Public In Square (mgpc 4/8/2013)

The godly lives we are saved for are not confined to relationships in the church.
As a people who are charged to introduce others to Jesus, our lives must not hinder those people from meeting Him.

Fairest Lord Jesus and O Thank The Lord (Psalm 107) are the songs of preparation with Lord I Lift Your Name On commencing worship.
Psalm 100 will be a responsive call to worship, and after the prayer of confession The Price Is Paid is the song of assurance, and Ephesians 2:4-10 and Glory Be To God The Father, God The Son our affirmation.
Jeremiah 32:26-44 reveals God’s explanation to Jeremiah about the command to purchase land in Israel even as Jerusalem is being besieged and its population deported.
Father, We Come To You Now (Revive Us) will be our expectant prayer as we consider God’s word.
After reading Titus 3:1-11, the focus of the sermon will be on verses one and two where the commands about relationships with others are expanded to those outside the church: civil authorities and all others.
After our pastoral prayer we’ll give our tithes and offerings then conclude singing You Servants Of God, Your Master Proclaim.

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Training Grace, How Sweet The Sound (MGPC 28/7/2013)

The grace of God, which brings salvation, also brings transformation.
We are not only given a new status before God, we also continue to be changed into a people striving to do the works of God.

Blessed Be Your Name and Join All The Glorious Names prepare us for worship by focussing on who we are in the Lord Jesus. A further expression of our praise to Him for His great work of salvation will follow as we commence the service singing The Splendour Of The King (How Great Is Our God).
Our prayer will recognise how deeply we need not only the redemption of salvation but the transformation of our natures to truly be the people of God. In and of ourselves we would return to seeking our own ways, but the Gospel changes us, more and more to be like Jesus. Saviour, While My Heart Is Tender, The Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow will express our testimony of faith.
Jeremiah 32:1-25 recounts the prophet’s confusion as he obeys a perplexing command of God. Come And Fill Our Homes With Your Presence (The Family Prayer Song) is a response of devotion and obedience to God in every season.
Titus 2:11-15 reveals the empowering reason for the series of commands given to the church about discipling relationships among one another. This is a practical part of God’s saving work in our lives as we learn to love righteousness serving and being served.
After our prayers of thanksgiving and for the needs of others, we’ll give our tithes and offerings then conclude our worship singing Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.

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The Nature Of A Local Church (mgpc 7/7/2013)

Younger generations of families have no shortage of willing volunteers prepared to tell them which senior members of the family they most resemble.
As Paul encourages Titus in his task of appointing leaders to local churches, the apostle reveals the essential image of a local church as he describes the character of their elders. The character of church leaders will imprint upon the congregations they serve, and in describing the character of elders, the nature of a local church will emerge.

O LORD, I Will Exalt You (Psalm 30) and Arise, My Soul, Arise are the songs of preparation, with worship commencing with Crown Him With Many Crowns.
Our prayer of adoration and confession will focus on God’s perfect character and the work which His Holy Spirit is doing in growing that character in us individually and corporately. Create In Me A Clean Heart, the Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow are the affirmations.
Listening to God’s Word, Jeremiah 30:1-24 conveys the promise of restoration after exile. We’ll respond singing My Lord, What Love Is This (Amazing Love)
Titus 1:5-9 reveals the character of those who lead the church. Understanding this helps us to ensure that qualified men are appointed to lead, but also enables us to know what sort of character must develop in a local church. A church will not grow beyond its leaders, but mature leaders will impart a church character that seeks after godliness.
After our prayer of thanksgiving and for the needs of others, we’ll give our tithes and offerings, then conclude worship singing I Serve A Risen Saviour (He Lives).

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Gracious News For Now And Eternity (mgpc 30/6/2013)

As Paul writes to Titus he introduces the theme of his letter in its introduction. God cares for His people through the proclamation by which they are brought into His kingdom and guided in their lives as part of that kingdom. We enjoy God’s grace and peace, and loving fellowship with His family.

Psalm 77 (The LORD’s deeds I remember all) and Far And Near are the songs of preparation, with All Creatures Of Our God And King commencing worship.
The prayer of adoration and confession will praise God for His grace and confess our continuing need for it, and our thankfulness for the peace we have with Him.
My Faith Looks Up To See, The Apostles’ Creed and Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow will be our corporate confession.
Hearing from God’s Word, Jeremiah 29:1-32 will contain the prophet’s urging to God’s people in exile in light of the pending destruction of Jerusalem.
These Are The Days Of Elijah is a song which expresses joy about the fulfilled promises of God in this present age.
After reading Titus 1:1-16 we’ll consider verse 1-4, Paul’s formal introduction to the letter. We’ll see the warmth of relationships which God creates with, and among His people. The instrument by which these relationships are created are God’s power working through the proclamation of His Word.
After our prayers of thanksgiving and for the needs of others, we’ll give our tithes and offerings then conclude worship singing As You Go.