The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He later added to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. Edwards didn’t casually make New Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a self-check. He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.

This list is organised by subheadings and categories and as such is not in the normal order as listed here.

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Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

Overall Life Mission1

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

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Farewell, Pastor Martin

Today is Pastor Martin Pakula’s final Sunday service as Interim Pastor of Hills Bible Church. Martin has been with us since June 2011, and has served the congregation at Hills faithfully week in and week out. It is a sad day, as we have grown in fellowship and friendship with Martin and Jennie. Martin’s clear and accurate expositional preaching has been provoking, challenging and encouraging. His drive for Hills to be a church focused on evangelism and outreach will be an enduring part of his legacy. He instigated scripture reading training, the Christmas gingerbread house event, the regular public and systematic reading of scripture in our services, and hospitality evangelism. We will also miss his regular blog contributions. Jennie has also been faithful member at Hills, serving on the music team, and playing a leading role at the women’s events.

Picture caption: A recent Ministry Leadership Team meeting. Left to right – Stu pretending to be Luke Hodge, Lindsay looks to be off fishing, and Martin in his Anglican garb on his way to deliver the Eucharist at St. Chuzzlewit’s. 

Martin, we have much to thank you for, not least for putting up with our Baptist sensibilities. We’re sorry you weren’t able to finish off the elements each Lord’s Supper, but it’s just not the way it’s done. In all seriousness, both you and Jennie will be sorely missed. May the Lord bless you and your family in the next chapter of your life and ministry.

BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE – be careful who you point your finger at

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Our Pastor’s tenure with us is coming to a close. As we approach his last month, I’ve reflected upon his many contributions to the spiritual growth of our church. In my opinion, I believe his primary contribution has to do with his zeal for the gospel and challenging us to be more gospel-focused.

By this I mean, he has made it a high priority that we actively pursue and create opportunities to tell others about Jesus. He has taken the focus off us and redirected it to the proclamation of the good news about Jesus to those not now part of our church – to friends, working colleagues, neighbours, and family members who are outside the family of God.

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Only what’s done for Christ will last

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My brother visited the grave-site of our relatives yesterday and sent me this comment. “Kinda sad, such a wet, damp and solitary place. No matter what our lives are like, we all end up forgotten after a surprisingly short period of time.”

His forlorn words reminded me of C.T. Studd’s poem which I’ve added below.

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, Continue reading Only what’s done for Christ will last

A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

Aaron Armstrong, author of Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, posted this last week over at Blogging Theology. I found this personally helpful; perhaps you will also.

“In his book Living for God’s Glory, Joel Beeke offers several diagnostic questions based on 1 Corinthians that provide, as he calls it, a biblical formula for holy living before God and man. When contemplating a course of action, he suggests we test it with these questions: Continue reading A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

“Going to Church”

“We get used to going — “going to church” is what it is called; the reality is, we, the church, are going to each other, to meet together. We gather to join again as one body, under the headship of Christ, to worship, pray, sing, hear the truths of the Bible, and build one another up in faith and love.

We get used to going week in and week out; it becomes a routine, almost a rut — the tendency is to get used to it.

But please don’t!

Don’t get used to it.

When we get used to it, we then have no heart and mind preparation, and we bring no heart with us to the church meeting; then we go without expectancy of God meeting with us personally.

So as you go today, stop and get some expectancy in your heart. Ask the Lord Jesus to meet with you today “at church” – at the meeting of His saints; He will do so for seeking and asking souls; when He does, we are changed by Him and we then love the meeting of the church even more.

Today God can meet with you at church; ask Him to, and then bring a hungry expectant heart there with you.

I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord‘ ().”

122:1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

We don’t have to be an intellectual whiz to serve God effectively

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”

I have been greatly encouraged lately by the fact that we don’t have to be an intellectual ‘Einstein’ to be faithful and fruitful workers for God. It’s not by our wisdom that people are saved by God, but by the work of the Holy Spirit through the redemption Christ has provided. It’s by God’s grace alone that we can do anything of eternal significance Continue reading We don’t have to be an intellectual whiz to serve God effectively

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

18 For the word of the cross is folly 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,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

The Watchman

There may be a mistaken tendency to think that it is only recently that the Gospel and those who uphold it are under attack. But this is a perennial problem as this piece by H.  Bonar attests. Here is an ode to those of you who defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ, speaking the truth in love, strength, and courage, by His grace.

by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” 

“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, He will.

Continue reading The Watchman

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.