mgpcpastor's blog


Leave a comment

Your Song Is About Its Testimony, Not Its Tone

Christian gathering has many facets, all of which are essential.
One of those essential facets is song.
Christian singing is not about demonstrating how your voice sounds, it is about demonstrating what your heart believes – and how that belief is shared with others.
Sometimes you’ll hear people say they don’t sing because they can’t sing.
But if Jesus is Lord of your heart you do have a song, and others need to hear it.

From Nick Aufenkamp at Desiring God.

Singing is vital to the edification of the church. And it’s not enough that just a few people sing — Paul is telling you to sing for the benefit of your brothers and sisters. But how does your voice benefit your church — especially if your singing voice sounds like a dog’s howl?
The power of your participation in congregational singing is not in the quality of your tone but in your voice’s testimony to God’s faithfulness. Your participation in singing signifies to all those around you that you love Jesus and trust his gospel.

source


Leave a comment

…Make Them Get Married, Or Something Even Worse – Support Your Local Sheriff

James Garner’s Support Your Local Sheriff is a very amusing comedy western in which a group of actors who could play dramatic roles in keep a straight face while sending up some familiar scenarios.
Garner’s Jason McCullough gets diverted on his travels to Australia and becomes the titular sheriff of a lawless frontier town and apprehends one of the sons of a local outlaw family.
The mayor, played by Harry Morgan isn’t entirely convinced the arrival of law and order is entirely a good thing; for wherever there’s law and order, can the churches be far behind?

Mayor Olly Perkins:
That must have been some show you put on at the saloon this afternoon. It kind of sobered up the whole town.
Jason McCullough:
Well, that’s good.
Mayor Olly Perkins:
Maybe… maybe not. It has been a lot of fun around here up to now. I mean, everything all kind of wide-open and relaxed. Nobody looking down their noses at anybody who happened to shoot someone else. Nobody poking their noses into nobody else’s business without them getting their big noses blasted off in the process. Ah, I guess now that we got law and order, churches will start moving in.
Jason McCullough:
Yeah, that’s usually the next thing that happens.
Mayor Olly Perkins:
And then the women will start forming committees and having bazaars. And then they’ll chase Madame Orr’s girls out of town, or make them get married, or something even worse. But, what the hell, like you said, the law’s the law, and we got to face up to it sometime.
Jason McCullough:
When did I say that?


Leave a comment

Good Churchmen (via David Burke)

It was good to see David Burke at the General Assembly of Australia this week.
He and Paul Cooper were launching their book Read In The Light, a compilation of essays relating to the Declaratory Statement that the Australian Presbyterian Church adopted at its formation which formalises its understanding of certain aspects of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Anyway, David was reflecting on having heard of a couple of people being described as ‘churchmen.’
In a certain time that phrase may have described someone who seemed to have a higher loyalty to the institution of the church than to Jesus.
But David set himself the task of composing a positive formulation of what that description might mean.
“A good churchman is someone who sees and relates to the church in Christ. He is committed to the church through, in and for Christ. He values the church not in itself but as the body and bride of Christ. His loyalty to the church is conditional on and conditioned by his loyalty to Christ.”

Read his whole post at his blog.


Leave a comment

Building Generosity By Setting Vision (via Andrew Hopper at JD Greear)

Culture takes time to establish, and maybe longer to change.
In this guest-post at JD Greear’s blog Andrew Hopper talks about the way in which setting and sharing a vision builds generosity as people get a sense of what could grow if they release resources to support it.
Sometimes this giving and releasing will be on a personal level, other times it will be on a corporate level as a Church makes decision to let go of something existing in order to strive for another goal.
Participating in this is part of being a growing Christian.
From Hopper:

While it’s true that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” vision sets culture. The greatest tool for building generosity within the church is giving people the picture of what could be. I’m not naturally great at casting vision; but, leadership is focusing on what needs attention, not what you are already good at.
As we’ve applied ourselves to improving in this area, we’ve learned there are two components to setting vision: heart and opportunity. All the opportunities in the world won’t matter if people don’t first realize that generosity with time, talent, and treasure may be the greatest marker of a growing Christian.

Read the rest here.


Leave a comment

The Church Is God’s Incubator For Making Disciples (via Stan Gale)

Stan Gale spent the days after his birth in an incubator. He received that life sustaining and growing support in isolation.
As a disciple of Jesus we are told that we need support for our life to be sustained and our growth supported. We need an incubator. But not in isolation.

The church is God’s incubator for making disciples. Through the means of grace made effective by the Holy Spirit, the church provides the light of God’s Word in an atmosphere oxygenated by prayer – the perfect environment for spiritual growth and development.
Unlike my time in a hospital incubator, the disciple is never released to be on his or her own. The need for Christ is constant and the church makes that apparent through celebration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, both of which sustain the disciple in this world and anticipate the world to come.
+++
If the church is an incubator for spiritual growth and development that means it is incumbent on those who lead to ensure that the church is functioning according to Christ’s design. The light of Christ must shine with clarity of God’s truth and warmth of His love. The atmosphere must be oxygenated with prayer in communion with God and dependence upon Him. Discipleship will not be reduced to mere information but transformation into maturity, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Read Gale’s whole post here.


2 Comments

When The Church Substitutes Social Transformation For Spiritual Growth (via Mark Galli)

Mark Galli considers the contemporary evangelical church and observes that when it adopts the emphasis of social transformation as goal instead of the nurture of Christians that it sows the seed of its own obsolescence.
The church is not designed to transform society, and when it teaches Christians that societal transformation should be a Christian’s chief goal they will gravitate to the groups which are purpose designed to do that work.
When the church emphasises the actions that attract unbelievers, it marginalises the actions that grow Christians.
The liberal churches followed a similar pattern into obsolescence, why would evangelical churches emulate it?

From Galli:

Because the church thinks it has to be missional, that it has to be a place where the world feels comfortable, it has dumbed down the preaching and the worship, so that in many quarters we have ended up with a common-denominator Christianity. It goes down easy, which is why it attracts so many and why many churches are growing. But it is a meal designed to stunt the growth of the people of God. And it is a way of church life that eventually burns people out, where people become exhausted trying to make the world a better place.

Read Galli’s essay at Christianity Today.


Leave a comment

Worship As Witness Of Jesus Bringing People Together (via David P Barry at Tabletalk)

Worship on Sunday is Christ’s demonstration to the world that salvation is a corporate experience with individual responsibilities, not an individual experience with corporate responsibilities.
From Tabletalk Magazine:

Our worship is meant to be the chief place where we demonstrate love for God and for each other. It is the clearest place where Jesus’ prayer for us is illustrated: that we would be one (17:11, 21–23).
Every part of our worship should reflect the unity that Jesus prayed, lived, died, and rose to accomplish. But, Jesus’ promise that the way we love each other will demonstrate that we are His disciples cuts both ways. If we allow our worship to become reflective of our individuality instead of our unity, we are illustrating to the watching world that Jesus does not bring people together. An “outsider” (to use Paul’s term from 1 Cor. 14:16, 24) should be able to watch the gathered saints confess Christ as one, sing as one, pray as one, and actively listen with a unity in their devotion as Christ their Lord addresses them in the preached Word. He should be able to perceive that there is a singularity of purpose and worship. He should see the power of God to bring different people and personalities and unite them in a holy purpose and holy love.

source