Preparing our Hearts to Worship

 

In an effort to help you prepare for the January 10th, 2016 Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections about church health and vitality, I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is about the centrality of the Word of God and the scriptures below are all referenced in the message.

 

  1. Read the Belgic Confession Articles 3, 4, 5, 6 and/or 7. Consider these Questions:
    1. Why is the Bible a “holy and divine” writing?
    2. What does it mean for the Scripture to “regulate, found and establish” our faith?
    3. What role does fulfilled prophecy have in authenticating the Scripture as God’s Word?
    4. For what purpose can the apocryphal books be read? What limits do they have?
    5. Since human writings are fallible, what benefits do confessions or catechisms bring to a believer? Is it wrong to consult these works for help in understanding the Bible?
  2. Read and pray Psalm 119, 2Tim 3:15-17, 2Peter 1:20-21, and/or Romans 15:4 for yourself and our congregation.
  3. Read, Sing or meditate upon any of these songs and hymns:
    1. “The Word” based on Hebrews 4:12 from Seeds Family Worship here
    2. “Speak, O Lord” by the Getty’s. Lyrics and video here
    3. “Teach Me, O Lord, Your Way of Truth” (PH276) or on youtube here
    4. “Holy Spirit, Mighty God” (PH278)
    5. “The Lord Almighty Spoke the Word” (PH283)
  4. Write a paragraph describing what a church centered on the Word of God would look like. What kinds of things would they do, not do? What element would be present in their worship? How would disputes and decisions be made?
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Bible Reading Plans

Are you looking for a Bible reading plan for the year? Are you not sure where to start and how to systematically read through your Bible.  Well, you are not alone and through the centuries a number of different reading plans have been created to aid in personal and corporate devotions.

Ligonier has done a great job of compiling these here.

Please find a great plan, stick to it and enjoy the Words of the Lord.

Posted in Devotional

What is a healthy church?

 In an effort to help you prepare for the Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections about church health and vitality, I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days.


1.Article 29 of the Belgic Confession outlines the marks of the true church as 1) engaging in the pure preaching of the gospel; 2) making use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; 3) practicing church discipline for correcting faults.  Are there other marks that ought to be included? Why? (For those wanting to read the full text of Article 29, it can be found here.)

2. Sing and meditate on the words of The Church’s One Foundation, PH#502.  It can be found here or on youtube here or upon the words of Jesus, with your church abide, PH #508.  It can be found on youtube here or here.


3. Read and pray any of these Scriptures for yourself and your church: Hebrews 4:12; Acts 2:42-47; John 13:35; 1Peter 3:15; Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-20


4. Read Heidelberg Catechism Q116 on Lord’s Day 45 here or here.


5. Write a prayer for our church, expressing to God your longings and desires for what she would be and do in 2020.


I hope you find these resources helpful and an encouragement to your own spiritual life in the coming days, and I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.
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Our children’s Christmas Program

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Salvation and discipleship

“The kingdom comes when Jesus becomes King of your life. But it has to be
your life. You can’t create a kingdom that doesn’t exist, where you try to be better than you really are. Jesus calls that hypocrisy – putting on a mask to cover the real you.”

Paul Miller, A Praying Life, (Navpress, (c)2009), p.33

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On Ethics @Quotes #UTT #Ethics

John Calvin masterfully states the problem with the love of money (i.e. selfishness) in his commentary on Exodus 1:9:

“This was common with heathen nations, to profess in their counsels, that what was right should be preferred to what was profitable; but, when it comes to the point, covetousness generally so blinds everybody, that they lose their respect for what is right, and are hurried away headlong to their own advantage.”

The Ethical dilemmas we find ourselves in are not truly a question of what is right, most often, but a question of how can we get what we want and still have the pretext of being right.

John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries (Complete) (trans. John King; Accordance electronic ed. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1847), n.p.

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Despair is pride

From John of Landsburg, 16th century catholic monk, from his A Letter from Jesus Christ, where he imagines Jesus speaking personally to us saying:

"I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, pining, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief. You don’t move towads me but desperately imagine that everything you have ever done has been utterly lost and forgotten. This near-despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride. What you think was a state of absolute security from which you’ve fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability…what really ails you is that things simply haven’t happened as you expected and wanted."

"In fact I don’t want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else. As long as you rely entirely on yourself, you are bound to come to grief. You still have the most important lesson to learn: your own strength will no more help you to stand upright than propping yourself on a broken reed. You must not despair of me. You may hope and trust in me absolutely. My mercy is infinite."

Paul Miller, A Praying Life (Colorado Spring: Navpress (c)2009), p.58

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The Christian Call in the World

"Our job in the midst of human need is not to come up with grandiose schemes (a la Karl Marx, Mao Tse-tung or Adolf Hitler) for solving all the world’s problems. It is simply to learn to obey God when He calls us to represent Him, to bring some sign of the Kingdom into some corner of the world He made."

Brad Long, Receiving the Power (Chosen Books: Grand Rapids, ©1996, reprint ©2006) p.240

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On Beggars and beneficial Work

While reading on the Christian theology of vocation I ran across this quote on those without a vocation, or what might be called free-loading, or welfare culture today. It is worth considering well.

“Hence we may learn sundry points of instruction; first of all that it is a foul disorder in any Commonwealth, that there should be suffered rogues, beggars, vagabonds; for such kind of persons commonly are of no civil society or corporation, nor of any particular Church: and are as rotten legs, and arms, that drop from the body. Again, to wander up and down from year to year to this end, to seek and procure bodily maintenance, is no calling, but the life of a beast; and consequently a condition or state of life flat against the rule: That every one must have a particular calling. And therefore the statute made the last Parliament for the restraining of beggars and rogues is an excellent statute, and being in substance the very law of God, is never to be repealed."

A Treatise of the Vocations, William Perkins, 1605, p.910

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PT10&id=RLyOAAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Seeing your real spiritual self

"When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how I spiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer."

Paul Miller, A Praying Life, (Navpress, (c)2009), p.31

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