Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Keeping Short accounts with God" by Geoff Thompson

This post is a transcript of the message I brought to the two Renmark Uniting Church Congregations on 9th July 2017.


ORDER OF SERVICE RENMARK 9/7/17 
Welcome : Geoff
Call to worship: Psalm 45:1-7 and prayer of invocation.
Hymn: “Jesus lover of my Soul” AHB 139
Bible Reading: Romans 7:15-25 (NIV)
Hymn:”O Love that wilt not let me go.” AHB 525
Offering:
Prayers of Repentance,Intercession, and confession
Hymn:“To God be the Glory.” AHB 85
Sermon: “Keeping short accounts with God.”
Hymn: ”What a friend we have in Jesus” AHB 165
Benediction:
Vesper: “May our Lord,God of Peace.” Edelweiss tune

SCRIPTURE READING

Romans 7:15-25

Romans 7:15-25New International Version (NIV)
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!



SERMON:”Keeping short accounts with God”

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Do you wonder in dismay when you see someone in an AFl game just out of the blue, king hit someone and knock them out.

Usually the person will say that is just not my usual character.

“I am ashamed I did that.”

“I am so sorry.”

They usually have apologised before the day ends to the person they hit.

I can remember in my football days doing things I was immediately not proud of.

Do you find yourself,  as a committed Christian, that like the Apostle Paul, this is your ongoing experience?

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Do you have days when you are feeling quite spiritually aware,
and in tune with God’s voice,

and His involvement in your life,

and yet,

other times where you can’t seem to touch base with Him,

and even sometimes don’t want to.

And when you don’t want to,

you feel guilty because you think

“I am a Christian, I shouldn’t think that way.”

When that’s happening you can feel like you are in a tug of war with God.

So we ask ourselves how real is my faith?

Am I really a Christian or am I just pretending?

Do I really believe what I tell people?

We have thoughts that come into our heads along the lines of “You call yourself a Christian, so how come you said that?”

Other thoughts we might have  might say “the Christian life is just too hard, why don’t I just live like everyone else does?”

The Apostle Paul was obviously having some battles when he wrote the words in Romans 7.

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

You can see we are in good company when we have similar thoughts.

So will we ever be free of all this too-ing and frow-ing in our minds?

Now to many people who observe us from a distance they might think we are wonderful Christians.

That can be because we are very good at making sure others don’t know about our secret sin or thoughts that are less than Christian.

We don’t want people to think ill of us.

We have a reputation after all!

I think back, and you can probably think of examples, where a fine  upright Christian person has been caught out for embezzelement and fraud.

Totally the opposite to how the person came across.

Were they just plain evil and deceitful?

The Bible teaches us as Christians that we have 5 enemies.

Sin

The flesh

The devil

death.

the world

Let’s deal with the flesh.

This is what Paul says.
“5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

And he goes on to say :

“8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Note how three of our enemies are dispensed with here.

Sin, Death and the Flesh.

This has all been accomplished by Jesus on the Cross.

We do need to recognise this of course and make this real in our lives.

The “flesh” is where the enemy of mankind, the devil, attacks us.

He attacks us through

our minds,

our thoughts.

The things we look at,

the things we read,

the things we listen to,

our behaviour towards others;

So will we ever be free of temptation to do wrong?

No!

But we can be free of any power that temptation has over us.

We can claim the victory that our position in Christ has given us.

Paul gives us the answer.
It is found in other parts of the Bible also.

“9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.”
“but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 “

Abiding in Christ.

Walking in the Spirit

is the key to peace with God.

How do we do that?

We allow God to control our behaviour through His Holy Spirit.

We cultivate and develop right habits.

Habits like daily reading the Bible so that our minds become saturated with God’s will for us.

Habits of always seeking to forgive and not condemn.

The habit of giving up our right to ourselves!

Always wanting to be served first!

get special favour above everyone else!

We might see where some Christian we know is failing in their Christian walk.

Usually we can only see where someone else is failing because we have the same sin in our own lives.(finger pointing exercise)

It is not for us to criticise or condemn but to intercede on their behalf.

So what about the devil?

The devil is still very active in the world today.

He attacks Christians through his accusations and life's circumstances.

But the devil is defeated.

He was defeated when Jesus was crucified.

Listen to this in Colossians 2:14-15

“He has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross. And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!”

"And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!”

The Bible tells us we don’t fight with flesh and blood but principalities and powers in high places.

Those powers are the realm of the devil and they were dealt with on the cross.

We need to stand up to the devil  like a traffic cop has the authority to stop traffic.

We have all the authority of the Cross of Christ behind us.

So will we go on sinning?

that is very likely,

as human beings,

 tainted by the fall in the Garden of Eden.

But this is where our title comes in.

“Keeping short accounts with God!”

How do we keep our faith fresh and alive?

How do we keep these so called short accounts.

It’s called repentance.

We have someone we can turn to when we fail.

1 John 1: Living Bible
  5 This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: that God is Light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 So if we say we are his friends but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. 7 But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him,[a] he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.* 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are lying and calling God a liar, for he says we have sinned.
1 John 2Living Bible (TLB)
2 My little children, I am telling you this so that you will stay away from sin. But if you sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. His name is Jesus Christ, the one who is all that is good and who pleases God completely. 2 He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins,[a] and not only ours but all the world’s."

If we sin,

we recognise it,

we repent,

we forgive,

we confess,

we keep on with walking in God’s light.

Did I mention the world earlier as an enemy?

We have to live in the world and mix with the worldly,

but we don’t have to be part of it!

we don’t have to conform!

We have choices don’t we?

We can make these choices new each day.

Keeping Short accounts with God through our Saviour and Advocate,
the Lord Jesus Christ!

Just one real life example:
A well known Christian author,pastor and counsellor!

This was just one of his quotes.

He was a highly motivated and gifted Christian.

“Anger is a divinely implanted emotion. Closely allied to our instinct for right, it is designed to be used for constructive spiritual purposes. The person who cannot feel anger at evil is a person who lacks enthusiasm for good. If you cannot hate wrong, it's very questionable whether you really love righteousness.”

You see he was very much against evil,

 against what he did!

 I have some of this mans books and tapes of his sermons.

He was without doubt a very influential and wonderfully gifted teacher and counsellor.

I still value his teaching and books etc.

He fell from grace very badly.

He had an affair.

The good news is his wife forgave him and so did the Church, in time.

He had to take the same course that I have been outlining here.

Confession!

Repentance!

Acceptance of God’s grace!

And God has forgiven him!

He is now with His Lord.

None of us here are denied God’s grace.

The love of Jesus Christ!

Perhaps we should all check our overdue accounts!

Before I close I would just like to make an observation:

When I was about 20 I was overcome by a serious anxiety state or depression.

It was really because of feeling guilty about something.

It gave me some very serious physical and emotional problems.

Lesley at this time, suggested we go to Church and that might help.

This was before we were married.

The sermon was by a man who really belted out the Gospel.

I heard the word sin mentioned about every second word.

All the sermon did, as I heard it, was convince me I was a hopeless case.

Because I felt guilt I knew my problem was sin.

The trouble is I was so neurotic at the time I didn’t hear that a solution was also being offered.

All I was hearing was "the wages of sin is death"

I was thinking I had no hope to be relieved of these symptoms.

I was a hopeless case!

I wasn't hearing the part that says: "but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.!"

I came out of that Church feeling worst than when i went in.

Some 8 years later I fully understood what he was saying and was able to know the peace and forgiveness that Jesus brings.

My prayer and hope that today if there is someone here, who just like me so many years ago, is not really able to cope with all this sin talk, will go home and realise that while sin is a reality in everyone’s lives,

that Jesus indeed provides the way of escape as we have been learning.

and does choose to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Through:

 1Faith and Belief that Jesus is the Son of God,

2. Confession of sin.

3. Repentance

4. Acceptance that He is your only Saviour

5. And by being obedient in Baptism



AMEN!

PS. I have recorded this message and may put it up on youtube later.
If any would like a copy of the recording I can email it to you.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whatever happened to Evangelism? A challenge for young Christians and not so young..



A Churches of Christ Tent Mission from way back. I think these were conducted by E C Henriksen.Note the blackboard at the front with clear instructions on salvation

I became a Christian in 1974.

My wife and I were a product of the "Jesus" revolution of the 1970's.

The signature symbol  of the movement was the one way logo with the hand with index finger pointed to the sky.
My wife became a Christian about 3 years before I did.

There was a world wide movement of God's Holy Spirit reaching out to young people fresh from the 60's cultural revolution.

There was a lot of rebellion in that time world wide. Check the stuff online.

There started to be a revival around the world that was complemented by a thriving Christian Music Industry and dynamic Preachers and Evangelists and testimonies of many people, some pop celebrities, telling how they had found Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

The paraphrased "Living Bible", which put the Bible in today's language, was a major tool in this movement.
I still find it my main "go to" Bible.

The Gospel was very enticing and  proposed without fear or favour.

Paul Stukey of Peter Paul and Mary became a Christian when a young "Jesus Freak" aproached him backstage at a concert and boldy presented him with the Gospel. Apparently Paul had been searching for answers prior to this happening.
Barry Maguire the famous singer of the Protest Era anthem ,"The Eve of Destruction" became a Christian.
He this day seems to still be a Christian but like many  he has changed his views on some things along the way.

He featured in a very popular Gospel Musical  called "the Witness".
My wife sang in the choir in an Adelaide production of this.

Keith Green, Christian Musician and Evangelist, a little bit further along the continuum, became a huge influence.
He made his albums of Gospel music free if you couldn't afford the price and his concerts had huge attendances and a strong challenge for Christian Commitment.
He met an untimely death aged 28 in a plane crash.
http://www.lastdaysministries.org/ 

To "witness", to tell of your faith and what Jesus had done for you and what was possible for your "witnessee" was the norm for new Christians in the evangelical tradition.
We were trained in how to do this and the booklet "The Four Spiritual Laws" produced by Campus Crusade for Christ was widely used.
In fact when I became a Christian my Pastor used it to help summarise for me what I was doing the night I responded to the Gospel invitation after an evening service.

I have seen many people both "famous" and "nobodies" along the journey profess Jesus as their saviour.
Sadly some fall by the wayside which is a "normal" happening when you take into consideration the parable of the sower.

These days, in the city of Adelaide,South Australia, I see little evidence of a vibrant Christian movement in our Churches.

Perhaps I don't get out much.

There have been many great revivals over the years but there seems to be a lack of anything like revival in these times.

People seem to have lost sight of the Power of The Cross of Christ and instead water the Gospel down with all sorts of promises of experiences and "connecting " with God.

We hardly connect with each other let alone God.

My wife and I and others were fortunate to be exposed to some very balanced and Biblical teaching.

What seems to be lacking today is for example:

1.  a spirit of discernment. The whole idea of if you stand for nothing you fall for anything seems to be well and truly operating.

2. A thorough Biblical understanding of the Christian conversion process and progression from there.

3. An accurate theology on the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.

4. The recognition of who the Christian's enemy is and the weapons God has given us to combat the enemy.

5. The need to preach the Cross only and to recognise that when you do that people are confronted with Jesus.

6. An understanding of the three most important things. The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope.

I have been going back through some of the writings of some of my predecessors in the denomination in which I have hung my hat.

One of our mottos was we are not the only Christians but Christians only.

A good motto I think.

About 130 or more years ago Adelaide people had a hunger for the Gospel.

Gospel Meetings were attended by large crowds.

See this written account by HS Earl who was a visiting Evangelist from America called to Australia by the Churches of Christ.

this was in 1866.

"ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA,      
Editors of British Harbinger.--
      The past month has been one of unusual interest; indeed it stands without a parallel in the history of the cause we plead, or any other religious body, in Australia. Our audiences have been overwhelming, the interest most solemn and profound, and the results most soul-inspiring. Last Lord's day, August 26, I preached in the New Town Hall to the largest audience ever congregated for religious purposes in South Australia. It is estimated by the press and others, that upwards of 2,200 were present, and more than 500 were unable to gain admittance. All available space was occupied, and hundreds stood during the whole service. The most marked attention was given by this vast assemblage, and a profound interest prevailed. All classes and creeds were represented--The Mayor of the city, Councilors, Members of Parliament, Ministers, Lawyers, Doctors, Merchants, Artisans, and Mechanics--Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, &c. At the close of the discourse several persons confessed their faith in Christ. Last week I baptized the largest number of persons ever baptized at one time in South Australia, and the meeting was one of intense interest. During the past month no less than forty-three persons "have been baptized into Christ" and added to the Church of Christ, and several others have confessed their faith in Christ, and will be "buried with him in baptism" to-night, (D.V.) Thus the cause of "Pure Christianity" is advancing most gloriously in South Australia, and would soon occupy the foremost rank in power and influence, if we could only get several able and devoted Evangelists in the field. The Brethren are very anxious to hear that the Evangelist sent for from America is on his way hither. We sincerely hope there will be no delay. Now is the time he is specially needed here, as also the one sent for for Victoria. "The harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few.
H. S. EARL,  "

A Churches of Christ Tent Mission from way back. I think these were conducted by E C Henriksen.Note the blackboard at the front with clear instructions on salvation



Indeed the labourers are few.

You might say today's citizens of Adelaide are a lot more "sophisticated" than the people of that day.

Mores the pity.

We think we have made progress with our technology, out theories of evolution, our anything goes type of society.

Our so called "wisdom" is our downfall.

We have been caught like frogs in "the boiling frog" analogy.

As the Apostle Paul puts it.:

1 Corinthians 1

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Young person or older person will you become a "fool" for God?

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."













I became a Christian in 1974.

My wife and I were a product of the "Jesus" revolution of the 1970's.

The signature symbol  of the movement was the one way logo with the hand with index finger pointed to the sky.
My wife became a Christian about 3 years before I did.

There was a world wide movement of God's Holy Spirit reaching out to young people fresh from the 60's cultural revolution.

There was a lot of rebellion in that time world wide. Check the stuff online.

There started to be a revival around the world that was complemented by a thriving Christian Music Industry and dynamic Preachers and Evangelists and testimonies of many people, some pop celebrities, telling how they had found Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

The paraphrased "Living Bible", which put the Bible in today's language, was a major tool in this movement.
I still find it my main "go to" Bible.

The Gospel was very enticing and  proposed without fear or favour.

Paul Stukey of Peter Paul and Mary became a Christian when a young "Jesus Freak" aproached him backstage at a concert and boldy presented him with the Gospel. Apparently Paul had been searching for answers prior to this happening.
Barry Maguire the famous singer of the Protest Era anthem ,"The Eve of Destruction" became a Christian.
He this day seems to still be a Christian but like many  he has changed his views on some things along the way.

He featured in a very popular Gospel Musical  called "the Witness".
My wife sang in the choir in an Adelaide production of this.

Keith Green, Christian Musician and Evangelist, a little bit further along the continuum, became a huge influence.
He made his albums of Gospel music free if you couldn't afford the price and his concerts had huge attendances and a strong challenge for Christian Commitment.
He met an untimely death aged 28 in a plane crash.
http://www.lastdaysministries.org/ 

To "witness", to tell of your faith and what Jesus had done for you and what was possible for your "witnessee" was the norm for new Christians in the evangelical tradition.
We were trained in how to do this and the booklet "The Four Spiritual Laws" produced by Campus Crusade for Christ was widely used.
In fact when I became a Christian my Pastor used it to help summarise for me what I was doing the night I responded to the Gospel invitation after an evening service.

I have seen many people both "famous" and "nobodies" along the journey profess Jesus as their saviour.
Sadly some fall by the wayside which is a "normal" happening when you take into consideration the parable of the sower.

These days, in the city of Adelaide,South Australia, I see little evidence of a vibrant Christian movement in our Churches.

Perhaps I don't get out much.

There have been many great revivals over the years but there seems to be a lack of anything like revival in these times.

People seem to have lost sight of the Power of The Cross of Christ and instead water the Gospel down with all sorts of promises of experiences and "connecting " with God.

We hardly connect with each other let alone God.

My wife and I and others were fortunate to be exposed to some very balanced and Biblical teaching.

What seems to be lacking today is for example:

1.  a spirit of discernment. The whole idea of if you stand for nothing you fall for anything seems to be well and truly operating.

2. A thorough Biblical understanding of the Christian conversion process and progression from there.

3. An accurate theology on the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.

4. The recognition of who the Christian's enemy is and the weapons God has given us to combat the enemy.

5. The need to preach the Cross only and to recognise that when you do that people are confronted with Jesus.

6. An understanding of the three most important things. The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope.

I have been going back through some of the writings of some of my predecessors in the denomination in which I have hung my hat.

One of our mottos was we are not the only Christians but Christians only.

A good motto I think.

About 130 or more years ago Adelaide people had a hunger for the Gospel.

Gospel Meetings were attended by large crowds.

See this written account by HS Earl who was a visiting Evangelist from America called to Australia by the Churches of Christ.

this was in 1866.

"ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA,      
Editors of British Harbinger.--
      The past month has been one of unusual interest; indeed it stands without a parallel in the history of the cause we plead, or any other religious body, in Australia. Our audiences have been overwhelming, the interest most solemn and profound, and the results most soul-inspiring. Last Lord's day, August 26, I preached in the New Town Hall to the largest audience ever congregated for religious purposes in South Australia. It is estimated by the press and others, that upwards of 2,200 were present, and more than 500 were unable to gain admittance. All available space was occupied, and hundreds stood during the whole service. The most marked attention was given by this vast assemblage, and a profound interest prevailed. All classes and creeds were represented--The Mayor of the city, Councilors, Members of Parliament, Ministers, Lawyers, Doctors, Merchants, Artisans, and Mechanics--Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, &c. At the close of the discourse several persons confessed their faith in Christ. Last week I baptized the largest number of persons ever baptized at one time in South Australia, and the meeting was one of intense interest. During the past month no less than forty-three persons "have been baptized into Christ" and added to the Church of Christ, and several others have confessed their faith in Christ, and will be "buried with him in baptism" to-night, (D.V.) Thus the cause of "Pure Christianity" is advancing most gloriously in South Australia, and would soon occupy the foremost rank in power and influence, if we could only get several able and devoted Evangelists in the field. The Brethren are very anxious to hear that the Evangelist sent for from America is on his way hither. We sincerely hope there will be no delay. Now is the time he is specially needed here, as also the one sent for for Victoria. "The harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few.
H. S. EARL,  "


The people waiting to hear the Gospel



Indeed the labourers are few.

You might say today's citizens of Adelaide are a lot more "sophisticated" than the people of that day.

Mores the pity.

We think we have made progress with our technology, out theories of evolution, our anything goes type of society.

Our so called "wisdom" is our downfall.

We have been caught like frogs in "the boiling frog" analogy.

As the Apostle Paul puts it.:

1 Corinthians 1

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Young person or older person will you become a "fool" for God?

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."












Saturday, December 10, 2016

Speaking Personally- Devotional Readings

You will find many sermons and studies by the late Pastor Frank Hunting on this blog and my youtube channel.
I have started an occasional reading of some of his devotional booklet material and Bible Studies.
More to come.




Monday, November 28, 2016

The Road to Jerusalem by Geoff Thompson

This message was recorded at the Renmark West Uniting Church on Palm Sunday 2016.

I speak as a lay preacher a few times a year in the Renmark West and Renmark Town Church.

The pictures with audio are just so I can upload the audio to youtube.

 I recorded this on my iphone.I also have a blog called geoffthompsonsblog.blogspot.com.au

My youtube channel is at pembridgehouse.





The First Adam v the Last Adam by Pastor Harold Long

 
This video is about The First Adam v the Last Adam by Harold Long.
The opening Bible readings are by the late Pastor Frank Hunting.
The late Harold Long was a Churches of Christ minister and the one who was instrumental in my becoming a Christian.
It  is an important message to enable us to understand the Gospel. It shows how we are born "in Adam", a life that leads to death and when we become Christians we are "in Christ" and have entered into eternal life and freedom.It is also important to note how important the opening Chapters of Genesis are and that we should read them as literal truth.   Geoff Thompson

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Putting Christ Back in the News.



While recovering from some surgery I have been digitising some more of my tape collection.

Some time, ago in the 1980's, I enrolled in a correspondence course in Christian Writing.

It came with a set of 10 lessons on tape produced by Ken Packer in association with New Creation Ministries.

This was an Adelaide based course.

I wasn't able at the time to continue with the course but learnt a lot from the tapes which were produced during the "live" version of the course. 

It was in the days well before the internet and blogs etc when newspapers and magazines and radio and TV ruled the news gathering world.

Notwithstanding that, there is still much to be gained by listening to the tapes and in someways I think they  influenced me in starting this blog.

Ken produced a book called "Putting Christ Back in the News  The local church's role in public relations and Christian journalism"

I have it on order at the present.

You can still access Ken's writings at the link below.

http://www.timeforworship.com/ken-packers-column/

"Ken Packer.  In 1980 Ken began a monthly Christian column in his local suburban newspaper. In 1985 he began (and still writes) a weekly Christian column for country newspapers.  In 1986 he published his book “Putting Christ back in the news” to explain a local church’s role in public relations and Christian journalism. Click here for Ken’s articles "

I have found there is also a similar free course online at the link below by Fiona Veitch Smith.

http://christian-writing-course.thecraftywriter.com/ 

I would love to hear  from anyone who did the course and what they did as a result of completing it.

One of my neighbours, Rob Ferguson also did the course back then.

His "tree of life ministry" is featured on this blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Selecting Hymns

I am often called upon to preach as a layman at The Parkrose Village Congregation and also in two Renmark Uniting Church congregations. You will find some of my addresses and orders of service on this blog and my Christian Sermons blog.One of the tasks is to select suitable hymns to be sung.In Parkrose we predominantly use the Australian Churches of Christ Hymn Book and in Renmark mainly the Australian Hymn Book.
Having not grown up as a Christian in the Uniting Church I am not always familiar with the Hymns available.  Fortunately for me my wife who plays piano when I preach in Parkrose, is very familiar with Churches of Christ Hymns and also as in her younger days was a member of the Congregational Church and youth groups.So she is my arbiter and expert when it comes to choosing what we will sing. I have recently come across a wonderful site on the internet where many historical books of the restoration movement can be found. Churches of Christ in Australia is derived from the Restoration Movement. I am familair with the basics of it's history but there is a wealth of information on this site. I came across a book by John W Mcgarvey which is a series of Chapel Talks to students at the Bible College of which he was president.
I have reproduced this one address here on how to study and select Hymns.
Bear in mind this was for would be preachers and pastors.
My wife is a great exponent of the the things he highlights here for which I and our congregations are are always greatful.

There is a link at the bottom to where this book is and also the website itself.




Chapel Address -- No. 8
THE STUDY AND SELECTION OF HYMNS

I have said a few words to you on a number of occasions, about the importance of studying hymns and the proper selection of hymns to suit occasions. Sometimes an improper selection of a hymn leads to very deplorable results. I was informed of one instance in which, on a funeral occasion, the selection of the hymns was left to the young man who led the singing. He selected one that started right, but just as the pallbearers started off with the corpse they sang, "Believing we rejoice to see the curse removed." That service ended with more tittering than tears.

In order that you may make appropriate selections you must know your hymn book, not only the first stanza of every hymn that is worth singing, but the whole of it. You must know all those that are worth singing if you would make your selections wisely. The elements of a good hymn may be stated thus:
First, and most important of all, its sentiments must be scriptural. There is a hymn in one of our church hymnals which has been sung a great deal, the second stanza of which confidently looks forward to the time when that old boatman familiar in Greek mythology who used to row people across the river Styx, will safely row the Christian across the river of death. Now that is heathenish, but it is in a Christian hymn book. First, then, let me say again, and emphasize it, See to it that the sentiments of every hymn you select to sing in the church are scriptural.
Second, a good hymn is good poetry. Those of you who have gone pretty well along in the course of English, ought to know what good poetry is. You have been taught what it is. But it will require on your part a good deal of thought and study in addition to what you get from your professor, in order to give you that fine taste which will enable you to see the fine elements of poetry in a hymn. I do not think that there is one of the hymns that have become permanently popular that is not good poetry. Not only is good poetry essential, but there is a sentiment among uncultivated people that demands it. Some hymns acquire popularity and usefulness for a short time by means of the fine music set to them, even though they are only a jingle of rhymes: but they soon pass away.
When, then a hymn is found to contain scripture sentiment and good poetry, in order to be effective as a hymn it must be sung to appropriate music, music that expresses finely the sentiments of the hymn. Now no man can be successful in the selection of hymns to suit occasions from day to day and from week to week, who does not devote a great deal of attention and careful study to hymns. There are hymns which, instead of being good poetry, are nothing but lines of prose with a rhyme at the end of them, and not always good rhyme at that. I will read you a couple of instances of this kind. Number 526 in our hymnal: the second stanza: "Thrice blest is he to whom is given the instinct that can tell That God is on the field, when He is most invisi- - - bell, it ought to be. If it be true as was said a long time ago by some wise man and repeated again and again by others, that, if you will allow a man of good judgement to select the songs of a people, he may care very little who makes their laws, then it can not be a matter of minor importance to select wisely the songs of the church. There are a great many people, and especially children, who obtain their religious sentiments more from the hymns they are taught to sing than from the Scripture which they read or hear from the pulpit. And when sentiments are thus formed, whether just right or just wrong, it is almost impossible in later years to eradicate them. This is another indication of the importance of the careful study of hymns.
I have said that those hymns which have been long popular, and have had strong hold upon the minds and hearts of the people, have, all of them, been characterized by those qualities of a good hymn which I have mentioned. For example, that one which Matthew Arnold pronounces the finest hymn in the English language:

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my Lord;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
I do not know that Matthew Arnold was correct in thinking that the finest hymn in the English language, but certainly it has in it all the elements of a good hymn. Take as another example that old hymn that should have made the name of its author immortal. Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, who died a few days ago, made her name famous by the composition of one song that has attained the name of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. We have a battle hymn.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?
 
You all know the rest of it. Then there is another hymn, not sung so often, but equally fine, which might be called the Christian's call to arms.

Soldiers of Christ arise,
And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies,
Thro His eternal Son.

Strong in the Lord of Hosts
And in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts,
Is more than conqueror.

Stand, then, in His great might,
With all His strength endued,
And take to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God.

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul,
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole.

That having all things done,
And all your conflicts past,
You may o'ercome through Christ alone
And stand entire at last.
 
Such hymns as these two arouse all the energy and courage that is in the soul of a man who loves the Lord.
Then, we have our marching hymns; not one, but many; especially that one which we sing so often in this chapel:

"Come we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known,
Join in the song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne,

Let those refuse to sing,
Who never knew our God;
But children of the heavenly king,
May speak their joys abroad.

The hill of Zion yields,
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry:
We're marching thro Immanuel's ground,
To fairer worlds on high."
 
That hymn is a fine piece of poetry and it is sung to the music of a very fine march. I wonder that some composer has not taken it in hand and made of it a grand march for a brass band. I think it would be a good thing right now for us to rise and sing it.
But there are times that come over the disciples of Christ quite different from these indicated in these exulting stanzas. They are times of gloom and tears, when we need the tenderest words of divine sympathy. Our hymn writers have not left us without comfort in times like these. at is more consoling than the lines in which we sing our Lord's own invitation to the weary and heavy laden, beginning with the stanza,

"Come unto me when shadows darkly gather,
When the sad heart is weary and distressed
Seeking for comfort from your heavenly Father,
Come unto me, and I will give you rest".
We love to sing of our final triumph over death and the grave, and some of our best hymns are devoted to this inspiring theme. I wish we could bring back into general use that inimitable composition in which the resurrection of our Lord and our own resurrection are so beautifully and triumphantly set forth that it should hold a place, as it once did, in every hymn book:

"The angels that watched round the tomb
Where low the Redeemer was laid,
When deep in mortality's gloom,
He hid for a season his head,
That veiled their fair face while he slept,
And ceased their harps to employ".

(Is there anything more beautiful than this?)

"Have witnessed his rising, and swept
Their chords with the triumphs of joy.

Though dreary the empire of night,
I soon shall emerge from its gloom,
And see immortality's light
Arise on the shades of the tomb.

Then welcome the last rending sighs,
When these aching heart-strings shall break,
When death shall extinguish these eyes,
And moisten with dew the pale cheek.
No terror the prospect begets,
I am not mortality's slave;
The sunbeam of life, as it sets,
Leaves a halo of peace on the grave."



http://www.therestorationmovement.com/_states/kentucky/chapeltalks.htm

http://www.therestorationmovement.com/books/books.htm