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The Main Event Of Corporate Worship (via Chris Castaldo)

Chris Castaldo explains the inclusion of Scripture reading in the corporate worship of the congregation to which he belongs. In doing so, while acknowledging that all the elements are equal and should not be set against each other, he maintains that the public reading of the Bible is central to gathered worship.
This stands in contrast to Bible believing churches including less actual Bible reading in their services.
From Castaldo:

Christian worship, by its very nature, is focused on Christ; therefore, our worship should have the Word at the center. Hence Paul’s admonition to remain devoted to the Bible’s public reading. Although in Timothy’s context, this reading aloud in worship would have consisted mainly of Old Testament readings (since the New Testament had not yet been completed), the imperative applies to the entire canon. Christian worship, to be Christian in the fullest sense, must prioritize Scripture reading.
And there is another reason. Preachers may be informed by theological study, wisdom, and experience, but their sermons are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Scripture alone is inspired. Therefore, Scripture reading is in a class by itself among other elements of Sunday morning worship. Without pitting Scripture reading and sermon against one another, we want to recognize the preeminence of the text itself. Its reading, you might say, is the main event.

Read the whole post here.

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The Protection Of Sola Scriptura (via Michael Kruger)

Michael Kruger, at his blog Canon Fodder, writes about three protections that the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) offers to Christians.

Traditionalism: “Church tradition is our guide”
Individualism: “My Own Private Bible Interpretation is My Guide”
Existentialism: “Who Needs the Bible? Religious Experience is My Guide”

Read his explanations here.

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The Perfect Part Of Worship (via Erik Raymond)

As part of worship tomorrow at MGPC the Bible will be read (and sung).
However we may feel that the expression of the other elements can be focussed and improved, that one part is perfect.

From Erik Raymond:

But here’s the truth: no matter how many times you practice the song, how well you angle the lights, or build your props, you will never get it perfect. The truth is, everything we touch is smudged with sin. No matter how hard we try we can’t produce a perfect worship service.
But don’t check out in hopelessness on me. There is a way to have at least a portion of your service be perfect. The answer may come from a surprising source. The only perfect part of the Sunday service is when the Bible is read. When we open up the Scriptures and read the Word of God we are ensuring that perfection is on display. After all, the Bible is the perfect Word of God.

The article also includes suggestions about how to better include Scripture in worship.
There are explanatory sections for each of these points at the article:

Frame the entire service around the Word.
Introduce different genres of Scripture.
Don’t be afraid to read lengthy sections of Scripture.
Read the Bible before preaching.
Provide explanation before reading.
Train those reading Scripture to read it well.
Utilize responsive reading.

Read the whole post at the Gospel Coalition.

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Scripture Memorisation And Prayer (via G.K. Beale)

Greg Beale speaks about the importance of Scripture memorisation and the help that it is to prayer.
May you gather for worship in a place where the Scripture will be read and laid to heart, not absent or used as a bridge between worship items.

The transcript:

What keeps me going in my daily devotions is Acts chapter 7. That’s not my favorite book by the way. But in Acts 7 it says that Scripture is the living words or oracles of God. Well, if that’s true and we come to any part of Scripture, we can expect and should believe that we’re going to be transformed by living oracles. It’s not a dead word, these are living oracles. And one of the things that has really helped my prayer life, because it’s so filled with Scripture, is The Valley of Vision by Banner of Truth.
If you do not own a copy of The Valley of Vision, let me know, and I’ll give you a nickel towards the purchase of it. And if you need more, let me know. But really, I pray through those, I pray through one of those every day. They are marvelous, they’re the prayers of the Puritans. And also, to turn Scripture into prayer in your devotions. Personalize it. One thing I’ve done—it’s funny you should mention Psalm 51—I’ve memorized most of Psalm 51, and I began to realize not just when I’m reading should I turn it into prayer but it would be nice when I’m traveling or whatever and I don’t have a Bible before me to have it in my mind. It’s hard for me to memorize quite frankly, but you can do it. Even if you are not a good memorizer. And so to pray through those words and to turn them into prayer. A lot of times it doesn’t take that much to turn Psalm 51 into prayer because it is a prayer.

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Slugs & Bugs Two Album Kickstarter On Now

Slugs & Bugs is the name by which Randall Goodgame produces songs for children.
The last couple of album releases have been Scripture memory verse songs.
And who can forget the Christmas Album? After all, everyone loves the Christmas camel song.
2017 sees the planned release of two albums: a third general Scripture verse collection, and also an album based on Christmas themed verses from the Old and New Testament.
Get over to Kickstarter and see if you want to help out.
After one day 25% of the $65,000 target has been pledged, and one of the stretch goals is a third album that would contain songs more like the whimsical numbers of their pre-sing-the-Bible releases.
I’ve backed two previous Kickstarters by Randall before and not been disappointed.
Warmly commended.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scriptures Cont. (Paragraphs 8 – 10)
VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every people unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

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Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scripture Cont. (Paragraphs 4-7)
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in someplace of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.