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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 3

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 3

4
Q What is God?
A God is a Spirit,1 infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being,2 wisdom,3 power,4 holiness,5 justice,6 goodness,7 and truth.8

*1 John 4:24.
*2 Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17;1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:24; Isaiah 40:22
*3 Psalm 147:5; Romans 16:27
*4 Genesis 17:1; Revelation 19:6
*5 Isaiah 57:15; John 17:11; Revelation 4:8
*6 Deuteronomy 32:4
*7 Psalm 100:5; Romans 2:4
*8 Exodus 34:6; Psalm 117:2


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Preaching – Unique Proclamation (via Adam Ch’ng at Gospel Coalition Australia)

The words ‘sermon’ and ‘preaching’ fall out of use in some churches for a variety of reasons, both social and theological.
None of the replacement words or phrases really embrace the fulness of God imparting his grace to his people that is the act of a sermon being preached.
Whatever it’s called, as long as that is what is understood is happening.

Adam Ch’ng, at Gospel Coalition Australia, writes that –
Preaching is more than “sharing the Word”
Preaching is more than “explaining the Bible”
Preaching is more than “giving a Bible talk”

And concludes by writing

How then should we introduce the sermon?
We might unashamedly describe the sermon as “gospel proclamation” and call our churches to repent and believe. We might pray for our church to be not just informed but transformed by the Word. We might even ask our churches to “prepare to hear God speak”.
Whatever we might say, we must not diminish the supernatural significance of the preached word. Instead, we must lift our churches’ expectations of this sacred event. We need to aim higher.
For when we preach the Word with faithfulness, clarity and conviction, we are declaring Jesus’ victory over sin and death. We are transforming hearts, saving sinners and sanctifying the church. And we are acting as the mouthpiece of God who in that very moment is speaking light into the darkness.

Read the whole article at Gospel Coalition Australia.


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Lives Changed By Jesus 3 (preparing for MGPC 19/1/20)

Song: The Saving One
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: One True God
Prayer Of Confession
Song: Search Me, O God
Affirming our Faith
Song: May The Grace Of Christ Our Saviour
Bible Reading: Luke 23: 26-56 – Jesus is crucified and buried.
Bible Memorisation: John 3:16-17
Baptism
Song: Jesus Shall Reign
Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-10
Sermon: Lives Changed By Jesus 3
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: This I Believe


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You Serve A God Who Isn’t Limited By Your Fear (via Rebecca Reynolds)

Following Jesus alongside others provides encouragement and the example of other believers in situations similar to our own.
If encouragement gives way to comparison we can succumb to feelings of failure and lack of worth, not because of any inadequacy in us, but because we’re not the same as someone else.
And God has not created us all to be identical, or to respond to every dark valley the same as every other Christian.

From Rebecca Reynolds:

In the midst of fear, we also need to be careful about comparing our emotions with the emotions of others. In groups of nonreligious people, you will find some who are naturally bold. Certain personalities are just born risk—takers, not prone to thinking through consequences. Then there are rationalists who rarely allow themselves to be driven by feelings of any sort. Strategy is their default, not their instinct, so panic doesn’t hit them in the same way as it might hit a feeler. Feelers, on the other hand, may find themselves moved quickly and easily by circumstances or emotions. Tranquility isn’t on the emotional playlist as often as excitement, giddiness, sorrow, and fury.
Some of these inborn personality differences are impacted by personal choice, but chemical and genetic factors also come into play. God makes some people with a high natural capacity for analysis, others with a high natural capacity for risk, others with a high natural capacity for sensitivity. Instead of feeling pride or shame over our wiring, we can just acknowledge our defaults, seeing them as tools in a toolbox. We can acknowledge the pros and cons of our personalities and then ask God how he wants us to move forward.
So if you struggle with fear while someone in your religious community brags about his or her boldness, don’t let that comparison go too deep. This difference might not result from spiritual maturity so much as chemical capacity. And besides that, you serve a God who isn’t limited by your fear. In fact, it’s possible that your inborn sensitivity is vital to the specific work God has prepared for you.

Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pgs 101-102.


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When Jesus Says “Do Not Fear,” He’s Not Like Humans Telling You Not To Worry (via Rebecca Reynolds)

Sometimes advice is given that we don’t trust because the person given the advice can’t understand why we feel the way we do.
Rebecca Reynolds observes that Jesus is different.
He tells us, and he knows exactly how and why we feel as we do.

When the Bible speaks about fear – which is often – it speaks into all of this complexity. God knows your defaults. He knows your instincts. He knows your biology, your chemistry, your genetics, your experiences, and your intellectual capacity. Every connection that occurs in your nervous system, every fluid released by every gland, every physiological reaction – from the lump in your throat to the drop of your stomach – is seen by the God who made you.
This means that when Jesus comes to the believer saying, “Do not fear,” he’s not like humans who tell you not to worry. He understands what others cannot understand about us because he knows us back and forth, inside and out. He knows that for some of us, this is a command to walk on land, and for others it’s a command to walk on water.

Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pg 93.


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Lives Changed By Jesus 2 (preparing for MGPC 12/1/20)

Song: No Other Name
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: Good And Gracious King
Prayer Of Confession
Song: How Great Thou Art
Affirming our Faith
Song: May The Grace Of Christ Our Saviour
Bible Reading: Luke 23: 1-25 Jesus is tried, condemned, and sentenced by Pilate.
Bible Memorisation: John 3:16-17
Song: All Creatures Of Our God And King
Bible Reading: Acts 9: 1-22
Sermon: Lives Changed By Jesus 2
The Lord’s Supper (gf bread)
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: The Love Of The Father


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A Joy That Walks Through The Valley Of Shadows (via Winn Collier)

It seems as if joy was in short supply during the season of joy. Winn Collier writes that real joy is not the product of circumstances, true joy is hard won in adverse circumstances.

These are the seasons in which true and lasting joy can be tempered and grown.

Joy’s hard won these days. At least if you’re breathing and paying half attention. It can appear naive or brittle or uncaring to pursue (and even more to publicly profess) joy whenever it seems like Rome’s burning. And yet joy —true joy– is not denial of the pain or treachery. Joy does not sing syrupy lullabies in place of the funeral dirge. Rather, joy walks through the valley of shadows, all the while refusing to crumble or relent. Joy endures. Joy gathers the tears and the wounds and the crushing disappointment, all the while brazenly resisting the devastating lie that these tears and wounds, these evils and disappointments, are the truest story. Joy clings to faith with a dogged grip. Indeed, Joy is hard won

Anyone can pump out pollyannaish clichés. Conversely, anyone can wallow in gloom and cynicism. But to live in the reality of things and yet be relentless in the pursuit of joy–that requires a stout, courageous soul. “We must have,” as Jack Gilbert insisted, “the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world.” This is one of the many places where we must have the hard-won wisdom of those who’ve suffered at the margins, those who’ve sat on the razor edge. Listen to the songs of the oppressed. Hear their poetry and their stories. Sit at their tables. They teach us how to name injustice, yes. But what strikes me most is how they teach us to be fierce, unrelenting and obstinate, with our joy.

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