A New Kind of Urban Ministry

A New Kind of Urban Ministry | thisisourcity.

Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Prayer for Christian Education

Father in heaven, you are the only wise God in whom is all knowledge and truth. Teach us to accept your words and to store up your commands within us. By your mighty Spirit turn our ear to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding.

Your Son Jesus Christ has become for us wisdom from you, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Incline our hearts and minds to follow him, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

We pray for our children. Open their ears to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd who has called each of them by name. Cause them to recognize his voice, to listen to him, and to follow him wherever he leads them. Prevent them from following the voices of strangers, who are thieves and robbers. May their teachers help our children recognize your voice, Lord Jesus, and be shining examples of wisdom, holiness, and virtue.

May your good Spirit lead both teachers and students to behold with wonder and reverence all that you reveal and all that there is to discover in your magnificent creation, in this your vast universe. May they find in him the source and light, the path and destination of every subject, lesson, and discovery. May all who teach and learn bow in humble worship before your majesty and glory and splendour, which is evident in all the works of your hands.

Bless and guide all who are involved in the educational endeavour, not only the staff and students, but also all the parents, all the volunteers and administrators, boards and committees, school societies and donors, and all others who contribute in any way. Grant daily protection to those who travel to and from the various campuses by bus or bike, on foot or in vehicles. Protect the children from injury to body or spirit on the playgrounds, in the classrooms, and everywhere else. Fill the souls, minds, and mouths of our children with everything that is virtuous, right, peaceful, and good. Preserve their bodies in holiness, integrity, and health. Do all this, never for our own self-exaltation and pride, but always and alone for your greater glory.

Amen.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Prayer of Adoration

Here is a prayer for Lord’s day worship prepared by my colleague and friend Dr. Jannes Smith, professor of Old Testament at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary:

Heavenly God and Father, we come before you to praise your name. We worship and adore you, for you are a God beyond compare. We come to you as many different individuals, each with our own lives and burdens. And you are only one God; yet you can care for us all. We come here as created persons, but you, our creator, are far greater than we: three persons in one God. We come with our limited perspectives, for our lives are short, but you are eternal, without beginning and without end, beyond time and yet working day by day. We cannot see you, and yet you are here. You never change; yet you provide for our changing needs. You are everywhere present, and nothing in this world escapes your notice. You are busy with the farthest reaches of the universe, and you still have time for the prayer of a child. Your wisdom is boundless; yet you use foolish men to proclaim your Word. You are completely just–no evil can stand before you–and yet you are patient with our sins and shortcomings. You treat us infinitely better than we deserve. Instead of demanding our blood, you’ve poured out the blood of your only Son. You are everything to us, an overflowing fountain of good. And therefore we worship and adore you; we magnify your name. Our worship is feeble, not at all fitting to your greatness. But we pray that you will accept our praises in the name of your Son, and that you will perfect our praises by the power of your Spirit. For to you belongs all glory and majesty, our mighty triune God.

Amen.

This is Prayer 1 of 14 in a book entitled Prayers of the Saints (Armadale, Western Australia: The Reformed Guardian, 2010), which comes highly recommended to pastors and elders, and all who desire to deepen their prayers.

A Prayer at the Death of a Christian

Almighty and merciful God and Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, our souls are restless until we rest in you.  You have made us for yourself and we are yours.  We are the sheep of your pasture, the flock under your care.

Father, all the days ordained for him/her were written in your book before one of them came to be.  You give life and breath to everything, and contrary to your will not even a sparrow can fall to the ground. We thank you for his/her faithful and fruitful life.  Help us likewise to persevere faith and to live and walk close to you day by day.

Give us all, especially his/her loved ones, the grace to entrust this your child into your never-failing love and safekeeping, believing the promise of the forgiveness of sins and the hope of the resurrection of the dead in Jesus Christ your Son. Grant us your Holy Spirit, so that in the middle of our grief we may be filled with the comfort and strength that we need in this hour of loss. Help us this day and in the days ahead to look beyond the grave, and to realize that the body that we have sown into the ground will one day be raised imperishable.

As we carry out the heavy task of this day, we lift up our souls to you, Almighty God. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and now sits at your right hand! With a sure and certain hope of the resurrection we long for the day when what is written will come true, when death has been swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to you, O God.  You give us the victory over Satan, sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Father, as we now continue our pilgrimage, we ask that you would bring us at length to your holy mountain, in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, lives and reigns forever.

Amen.

Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm  Comments (1)  
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Church as Mother

I just love the way John Calvin speaks about the church as mother:

I shall start, then, with the church, into whose bosom God is pleased to gather his sons, not only that they may be nourished by her help and ministry as long as they are infants and children, but also that they may be guided by her motherly care until they mature and at last reach the goal of faith.  “For what God has joined together, it is not lawful to put asunder” (Mk 10.9p), so that, for those to whom he is Father the church may also be Mother (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.1.1).

Those to whom God is Father, the church is Mother (Gal. 4:26). Honour your Father, and your Mother.

The Song of Solomon and the Proverbs of Solomon

Christopher W. Mitchell, in his outstanding commentary on the Song of Songs, makes this insightful suggestion on the interpretation of Song of Songs 8:1-2:

The Song itself may be a canonical counterpart to Proverbs. Just as Proverbs is wisdom for all the faithful, especially for fathers to teach their sons, so also the Song is wisdom for all the faithful and is especially pertinent for mothers to teach their daughters.

There is of course lots for fathers and sons (and daughters) in the Song of Songs and lots for mothers and daughters (and sons) in Proverbs. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

Psalm 75 by Brother Down (Contemporary Genevan)

http//dl.dropbox.com/u/6579808/Brother%20Down%20psalm%2075.m4a

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Psalm 13 by Brother Down (Contemporary Genevan)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6579808/Brother%20Down%20Psalm%2013.m4a

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 11:25 am  Comments (1)  
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Apple Technology and the Apostle Paul

As our family was reading Acts 28 at the dinner table recently, my son asked me why Paul would have sailed on an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. “For the same reason that I use Apple technology,” I answered.

There’s a lot–a whole lot–I don’t like about “the cult of the Mac”, and I certainly do not consider myself among “the Apple faithful”, at least not in the religious sense. I have to regularly check my heart and my habits, and repent, when I slip up. Yet, I will gladly use, for God’s glory and in the service of my neighbour, the fine quality devices that Apple has designed and manufactured.

I believe this is right in line with the way God and his Son have historically put worthless idols to a more useful purpose than their creators, even the brilliant ones like Steve Jobs, had in mind. There’s something of God’s delightful humour and wisdom showing through here.

Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Memoir and Remains?

I find this a rather morbid title for a book:

Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne

Too bad the poor man had no say about it. I suspect he would have objected.

Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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