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Patiently Nurturing Culture Change (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson offers five observations regarding culture change in a local church:
They’re pretty sensible, but can be overlooked because of enthusiasm or over-confidence.
Taking the time to get to know the church and its existing culture (in contrast to its behaviour; trying to understand why people are doing what they’re doing) is necessary and respectful.
It also provides insight that enables adaptions that help changes to be specifically suited to the location rather than just being imported because they worked somewhere else.
Edmondson’s first four:

Figure out where the culture most needs to be changed.
Figure out what is working that you can build upon.
Begin to get a vision for the future. What does it look like?
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

And his final point:

Steadfastly work the plan.
It will take longer than most leaders hope it will. The longer the present culture has been engrained the longer it will take to change it. Protect your soul during the process, take frequent periods of rest, surround yourself with some encouragers, but stick with it.
The process to get there won’t be easy, but when the culture is improved you can really start having fun again.

Read the whole post here.


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Time For Everything (preparing for MGPC 21/10/18)

Song: From The Day
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: Saviour Of the World
Prayer Of Confession
Song: How Firm A Foundation
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 25
Song: Now To Him Who Loved Us
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 – The Apostle Paul defends his ministry in Thessalonica employing four metaphors: steward, father, mother, herald.
Bible Memorisation: Ecclesiastes 3:11
Song: My Soul Bless The Lord
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22
Sermon: Time For Everything
Song: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: No Other Name


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Letting The Word Do Its Work – Again

At Ligonier, Steven Lawson recalls the well-known quote from Martin Luther about his belief that the event we know as the Reformation was primarily a ministry of God’s Word.
As Lawson goes on to add, tomorrow at MGPC we’ll be setting the Bible loose again confident that it will do its work.

As the Reformation began to break, Luther was approached: “Explain what is taking place here in Europe?” “Explain the Reformation?” Luther gave this famous answer: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word. Otherwise, I did nothing. And then I slept. And the Word so greatly weakened the Papacy that never a prince and never an emperor inflicted such damage upon it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

We’re not looking for gospel gimmicks in these days. We’re not looking trendy little techniques. We’re looking for men, and women, and churches, and seminaries, and ministries, and denominations who will stand up with the Word of God—teach it, preach it, write it, sing it, counsel it, lift it up, let it out, and let it fly. And let the Word do its work.

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Chasing The Wind (preparing for MGPC 14/10/18)

Song: Saviour Of the World
Welcome:
Call to Worship
Song: Your Love Defends Me
Prayer Of Confession
Song: My God, My God To You I Cry
Affirming our Faith: New City Catechism 24
Song: May The Grace Of Christ Our Saviour
Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 – The Apostle Paul thanks God for the Thessalonian Christians and commends their faithful reception of the gospel.
Bible Memorisation: Ecclesiastes 3:11
Song: Rejoice, The Lord Is King
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26
Sermon: Chasing The Wind
The Lord’s Supper (gf bread)
Song: This Earth Belongs To God
Announcements:
Pastoral Prayer:
Closing Blessing
Song: Build Your Kingdom Here


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Christlikeness Is Something To Long For, Not Be Delivered From (via Randy Alcorn)

Randy Alcorn is supporting his wife, Nanci, through her season of cancer.
God is supporting them both.
He writes about the experience of God using the very situations that nobody wants as the circumstances in which faith and Christlikeness grows:

If asked, “Do you want to be closer to Jesus, and more like him?” we all know what we should say. Yet, if God answered all our prayers for relief from suffering, he would be delivering us from the very thing we say we want. Christlikeness is something to long for, not be delivered from. It’s not easy to pray, “Please do whatever it takes to make me more like Jesus.” But when he does whatever it takes, we should trust him.

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Pastor By Seeing Through God’s Eyes (via Gavin Ortlund)

Gavin Ortlund offers seven areas in which pastors manifest affection (in contrast to love) for those the congregations they serve.

He finishes by writing:

See them through God’s eyes
These people are the sheep of the shepherd. God loves them with a jealous, yearning, husband-like love:
“Love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord” (Songs of Songs 8:6).
If all else fails, remember how much the Lord loves your people. Jesus, the One before whom you stand, is affectionate for your people. He was thinking of them, also, as he slowly died on the cross. He now intercedes for them as His precious, blood bought people. That is the measure of their worth in His eyes.
If Jesus gave us blood for them, we can give our hearts to them.

Read the whole post here.


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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 40

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 40

105.
Q. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
A. That I am not to abuse, hate, injure, or kill my neighbor, either with thought, or by word or gesture, much less by deed, whether by myself or through another, but to lay aside all desire for revenge; and that I do not harm myself or willfully expose myself to danger. This is why the authorities are armed with the means to prevent murder.

106.
Q. But does this commandment speak only of killing?
A. In forbidding murder God means to teach us that he abhors the root of murder, which is envy, hatred, anger, and desire for revenge, and that he regards all these as hidden murder.

107.
Q. Is it enough, then, if we do not kill our neighbor in any of these ways?
A. No; for when God condemns envy, hatred, and anger, he requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to show patience, peace, gentleness, mercy, and friendliness toward him, to prevent injury to him as much as we can, also to do good to our enemies.