mgpcpastor's blog


Leave a comment

Fullness Of Joy That Lasts Forevermore (via Stephen McAlpine)

With the seasonal observations of the euphoria that is experienced by winning football teams and their supporters, Stephen McAlpine reflects on how a joy that seems so complete will fade so quickly (pre-season training will probably commence well before Christmas) contrasts with a joy that is more complete and which will never diminish.
I’m a long way into a set of Bible studies on the book of Ecclesiastes at the moment and these thoughts are very relevant to the theme of that part of Scripture.
From his post:

When people ask the question “Can you be happy without God?”, I say, “Of course!” I don’t buy it when apologists say “no” to that question.
I don’t believe that you cannot be happy without God. Because lots of people – especially in this rich Western world – patently are.
But it won’t last. It will fade. It will die – probably before they do. For if someone dies without having experienced severe suffering, or deep unhappiness, then they are a rare beast indeed.
Die they will, and the joy of a premiership flag will not go with them. Nor the joy of sex, the joy of work, the joy of leisure, the joy of anything outside of the joy of God.
Christians are often described as “kill-joys”. We don’t need to be that. In fact our one true Joy was killed, then raised again so that our joy could go on forever.

Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

Living As Exiles, Not Expatriates (via D.A. Horton)

We are citizens of heaven living on earth, not people from heaven seeking to become citizens here.
That difference should show in our priorities and in our relationships.
From D.A. Horton.

Living as exiles means that fighting for political power isn’t our main objective, suffering together well as we reach the lost in our society is. The fathers and mothers of our faith, living on mission outside of Jerusalem, were known to spiritually flourish while they were socially oppressed and persecuted. Many of them held no power, yet they preached Christ in boldness and loved those living on the margins of society with them.

source


Leave a comment

Negative Splitting The Christian Life (via Stephen McAlpine)

Maybe its because I’ve started cranking the treadmill at the gym up to a bit of a canter in the mornings, but this article by Stephen McAlpine caught my eye.
A 51 year old pastor with a passion for running McAlpine comments on completing the second half of a recent half-marathon (about 10kms) in a faster time than the first half – a negative split.
McAlpine develops the thought of completing the second half of a Christian lifetime with more purpose than the first, rather than settling and coasting home.
From his article:

So what about negative splitting your Christian life? What about making the second half stronger, more purposeful than the first half of it?
I say that in the light of being a Christian long enough to see peers either seemingly struggle to reach the finish line and settled into a low grade anger or cynicism, or give up altogether and go down some sidewalk. It’s not unusual for me to meet 50 to 60 year old men who, having started the race with joy and endurance, go into positive split territory or leave the faith altogether, and all the time getting closer to the finish chute.

Read the whole post at Stephen McAlpine.


1 Comment

Trials Of Various Kinds (via Scott Hubbard at Desiring God)

Scott Hubbard writes a short article about how God prepares us to face major trials by taking his people through multiple smaller trials of more mundane significance. How we teach ourselves to react with the smaller will be how we react to the larger seasons of adversity.

The little trials you meet today are not mere letdowns or annoyances. They are invitations from your Father to become more like Jesus. They are the exercises your faith needs, given in just the right size and quantity. They are God’s way of fitting you for glory.

Read the whole post at Desiring God.


Leave a comment

Nobody Welcomes Grace. At The Same Time Everybody Pants For It (via Paul Zahl)

Grace has to be the total paradigm, mix it with anything else and it can’t exist.
From Paul Zahl.

How can grace end-run its way around standards and yardsticks? It sounds unfair.
It is unfair, but it is completely unfair. It is the other side of the law, which is total grappling, a totally unsuccessful and failed grappling, with judgment. Because the law is completely fair, grace has to be completely “unfair.” The atonement makes grace “fair,” as is apparent in the teaching concerning the cross, But from our point of view, from the standpoint of its recipient, grace is unfair.
The unfair character of grace makes it persona non grata in the cut-and-thrust of the battle of life. Nobody welcomes grace. At the same time everybody pants for it; everybody wants it every second of every hour. Grace is an either-or proposition; it is not both-and.

Grace In Practice, Paul F. M. Zahl, Eerdmans, 2007, pgs 70-71.


Leave a comment

Why Neither Accumulation Nor Minimalism Can Make You Happy (via Wyatt Graham at Gospel Coalition Canada)

I’m an accumulator. But I know it won’t make me satisfied. Neither would getter rid of all my stuff.
From Wyatt Graham at Gospel Coalition Canada:

[Accumulation or Minimalism as] options to happiness are modern. But there is an older way of life that promises freedom like minimalism does and joy like accumulation does. Central to this way of life is the posture of hope in something beyond the material world, namely, God. And if you put your hope in God, then your well-being is not determined by whether you have stuff or don’t have stuff.
Jesus told his disciples not to worry about how much stuff they have or didn’t have because God provides…

Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

It Is Striking To Recognise That The Sense Of Being Fundamentally Bored And Dissatisfied With Life Is A Problem Experienced By Prosperous, Wealthy Westerners.“ (via Matthew Payne at Gospel Coalition Australia)

Some thoughts on the transformation of boredom from passing phases of disinterest to a more fixed state of dissatisfaction by Matthew Payne at the Gospel Coalition Australia.

People have always been bored. We’ve all experienced the feeling of disinterest in what we’re doing or not knowing what to do with ourselves. But what this paper focussed on was a deeper and more fundamental problem of boredom. Many people in our culture are disinterested in life as a whole. The meaningless of life hangs over us and we can’t escape a sense of dissatisfaction with what life has to offer.
This latter kind of boredom is a recent phenomenon. It is connected with the rise of wealth and the loss of belief in God in the western world. It is striking to recognise that the sense of being fundamentally bored and dissatisfied with life is a problem experienced by prosperous, wealthy westerners. We have more career and lifestyle choices than anyone else in human history, but this has not made us content. Quite the opposite.

Read the rest of the post at Gospel Coalition Australia.