Archive for August, 2009

Are You in the Union?

29 Aug

Individualism tells us that we are the centre of everything and what matters is how something effects us. The individual must have faith for himself, but they do not remain isolated. The Church is the gathering of God’s people. When we are saved from our sins, which separate us from God, we are together united to Christ in His body, the Church (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12).
we come to meet with God, particularly in His word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We meet people that we disagree with at church, sometimes hypocrites who don’t live out what they say the believe. Some people who hurt us by what they say and do. If we look at it with some perspective we’d have to say we do similar things to others. Should this potential to fall short of the ideal of the Church as the spotless bride of Christ (Revelation 19:1-10) stop us from being part of it?
Kevin De Young and Ted Kluck don’t think so. They’re recently published another book together called Why We Love The Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion and were asked to contribute a guest opinion piece for the Washington Post. It became this piece called Church: Love It, Don’t Leave It and Steve Chavis has produced a narrated version (turned into the YouTube video below).

(You can read the opening chapter of Kevin and Ted’s book at Kevin’s blog DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. Ted has also posted audio of an address about the book at his website Ted Wins.)

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“In sickness and in health…”

22 Aug

On Sunday afternoon I hopped in the car for the 4 hour drive to Canberra to pick up my sister on her way home from a 6 week mission trip with CMIAid. I dropped in at 1Way FM, visited Parliament House again, took some photos and ate one of the nicest pies I’ve ever had.
On Monday night we were invited to dinner with friends and were privileged to sit in on family devotions. The topic was a review of Sunday’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 7, particularly verses 29-35 about singleness. It was refreshing to consider the topic, particularly with a strong emphasis on families from the pulpit and the political press release (need I say “working families”?). With a number of young people around the table close to or at marriageable age, the discussion was surprisingly devoid of uncomfortableness.
My sister wasn’t the only thing I picked up on my trip; I’ve come back with a cold, so my synapses aren’t firing at their regular rate. So, in substitution for my usual ponderings, I thought I might share some of the articles that have been circulating among my (mostly single) friends recently on Facebook (one of them had the temerity to quote Elvis Presley at us: “A little less conversation, a little more action, please!”).

Parliament House Copyright Stephen McDonald

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Canberra Copyright Stephen McDonald

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Dan Walker: Standing Up For The Lord’s Day

13 Aug

Dan Walker is a sports broadcaster for the BBC. In this article from DayOne, Dan explains how God has made it possible for him to work as a sports journalist without having to compromise on keeping the Lord’s Day and the opportunities this has given him to explain the importance of Sunday to his colleagues, potential employers, and sports stars like David Beckham.

Many people—even Christians—have asked me why I feel so strongly about the Lord’s Day. For me it seems quite obvious. God, our creator, has given it to us for our own good. Some will argue that Jesus Christ’s coming means we are no longer obligated to keep it special but that is a viewpoint I fundamentally disagree with.

There are still ten commandments and it is more important than ever before to guard the fourth one jealously. I think it is also essential to stress the importance of being part of a ‘local’ church. The church, the corporate worship of God, and the preaching of the Word are three of the main things Satan aims to undermine in the lives of Christians. I know that I would suffer both spiritually and practically if I started working on Sunday. I don’t think our attitude to the Lord’s day is a ‘salvation’ issue but I do firmly believe that it is a sign of our spiritual temperature. What does it say about us if we would rather be on a football pitch than in the presence of God’s people hearing his Word?

Read it all here:

Thanks to Tim Challies for the tip off.

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Go, Labour On!

12 Aug

In a similar vein to my most recent post, here’s a hymn that’s been rattling through my mind over the past days:

Go Labour On: Spend, and Be Spent

Go, labour on: spend, and be spent,
Thy joy to do the Father’s will:
It is the way the Master went;
Should not the servant tread it still?

Go, labour on! ’tis not for naught
Thine earthly loss is heavenly gain;
Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not;
The Master praises: what are men?

Go, labour on! enough, while here,
If He shall praise thee, if He deign
The willing heart to mark and cheer:
No toil for Him shall be in vain.

Go, labour on! Your hands are weak,
Your knees are faint, your soul cast down;
Yet falter not; the prize you seek
Is near—a kingdom and a crown.

Go, labour on while it is day:
The world’s dark night is hastening on;
Speed, speed thy work, cast sloth away;
It is not thus that souls are won.

Men die in darkness at thy side,
Without a hope to cheer the tomb;
Take up the torch and wave it wide,
The torch that lights time’s thickest gloom.

Toil on, faint not, keep watch and pray,
Be wise the erring soul to win;
Go forth into the world’s highway,
Compel the wanderer to come in.

Toil on, and in thy toil rejoice!
For toil comes rest, for exile home;
Soon shalt thou hear the Bridegroom’s voice,
The midnight peal, “Behold, I come!”

Horatius Bonar, Songs for the Wild­er­ness, 1843.

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“He was too young to die”

09 Aug

On Wednesday I heard Carl Trueman deliver 4 lectures at Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne. He spoke on John Calvin and the second generation of the Reformation. With a passing reference to the book The Medical History of the Reformers by John Wilkinson, a Scottish doctor, Trueman pointed to the fact that these men “were dying from the time they were 18 years old.” Calvin was a shadow of a man who usually ate one meal a day and was constantly beset by asthma, and yet preached twice each Sunday and each morning of every second week.
Contrast this with words often heard on news reports on the deaths of young people and even at the funerals of Christians who die before their “three-score and ten” (reading the whole of Psalm 90 shows that rather than demanding a long life, the Psalmist’s main concern is that God teach him to number his days, v12, satisfy him with His mercy, v14, show His glory and establish the work He gives us in our time here, v16-17). However many days we live are apportioned to us by God before one of them comes to be (Psalm 139:16). If it is our desire to serve God every day of our lives, how can we turn around and blame God when He calls either ourselves or another of His servants to Himself after a life of service, no matter how long? Is that the attitude of true devotion to Christ who gave His very life for us? (Philippians 2:1-11)

“God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”

Jim Elliot, quoted in Shadow of the Almighty, page 247. HT: Ray Ortlund at Christ Is Deeper Still

He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave.

Matthew Henry HT: RevMatthewHenry on Twitter

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A Homeschooling Family

03 Aug

Yep, I’m one of those strange kids. You know, the ones who have no social skills because they haven’t been stuck with 20 other kids of exactly the same age for 12 years of their lives. I’m one of those.

(I’m not a one-eyed homeschooler. My parents at various times used public, private and home-schooling for us.)

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"… What is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:14.