The joys of Presbytery
The last few weeks have been somewhat frantic, hence my lack of blogging output. As you can imagine the Ref 21 inbox is going crazy, 'Where is Levy?' they ask. It's one of the most popular requests behind 'Where can we get more of Walker's hymns?'and 'In which century did Jeremy Walker minister?'
Last week was presbytery which takes mountains of time but which was also very encouraging. We've tried to change things slightly over the past year and so at every presbytery we have an exposition of scripture, a theological paper and something seeking to engage with our culture.
This time Iain Clements preached very helpfully on Psalm 51:1-6 - The Word of the Lord is an unpleasant word v2, an unavoidable word v3, an unanswerable word v4, a merciful word v1,6
Then Ian Hamilton gave a tour de force on the Holy Spirit particularly dealing with revelatory gifts. He used the phrase 'Without the Holy Spirit we may as well burn our Bibles' and has written a very helpful and encouraging piece for pastors and congregations on this. Finally in the afternoon Ranald Macauley, who founded two of our congregations, spoke on 'Being Human'. He's written an excellent book of the same title with Jerrram Barrs and Ranald is always good value to listen to; you don't always have to agree with his analysis to find him stimulating.
I would have given you the audio links but I forgot I had the digital recording device in my bag. Our presbytery is small and slightly shambolic at times.Ther are a lot of things that need to change. I say that as this year I'm the moderator but slowly and in small ways we're growing and God has been very good to us. We try to spend quite a bit of time in prayer and it always does me good to hear the brothers pray. I read the opening words of our BCO which is small and needs a rewrite but has a very helpful opening section
1.1.1 This is a new procedural code for the IPC with the overriding objective of enabling the Session and others to deal with matters in ways that please the Lord Jesus Christ who is Head of the Church, King of kings and Lord of lords, Creator of all things and the Second Person of the Triune Godhead.
1.1.2 Dealing with matters in ways that please the Lord Jesus Christ includes:
(a) being obedient to the teachings of God's word, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and being submissive to the sense of Holy Scripture as promulgated in the IPC Constitution and its Schedule (in particular to that system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith);
(b) making prayer a central component of any decision-making process and trusting the Holy Spirit's guidance;
(c) having regard to the principle of dealing with the Lord's work in the Lord's way
As described by Francis Schaeffer in "No Little People" Chapter 4 when he writes: "Let us not think that waiting on the Lord will mean getting less done. The truth is that by doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way we will accomplish more, not less. You need not fear that if you wait for God's spirit you will not get as much done as if you charge ahead in the flesh. After all who can do the most, you or the God of Heaven and earth?"
(d) being thankful in everything to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
"Every blessing that God confers upon us perishes through our carelessness, if we are not prompt and active in rendering thanks." (Calvin on II Cor 4:6
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