W/C 2 September

I’ve realised I’ve done 2 years on the blog and so I think I’ll go to a weekly update which will probably peter out!  if there’s anything interesting I’ll fill you in

W/c 2 September – I caught up with an old friend from growing up in Swansea first thing on Monday, I’m hoping he might turn up to ours on a Sunday evening once we’re in the new building at least that’s his intention.  Good elders meeting in the evening and decisions made that I think will be helpful to the ministry of the church. Lourens joined us from Oak Hill and it was good to have him there. I gave the first of 2 talks at ELT on 1 Corinthians 15. We then headed off to Northern Ireland as the kids are off for an extra week owing to the building project at the school. Normally I try not to be away during September but with the wedding and a trip to Poland with my dad it feels all very disjointed. I worked a couple of days in NI and then we had a terrific day out at W5 – this interactive play/ science place. Oli and Rachel’s wedding on the Saturday was magnificent – a real witness and all the speeches were brilliant. I spoke on 1 John 4 and I’d found it hard going in prep and didn’t feel I spoke well – we love because of.. who God is/ What God has done/ What God is doing but an all round great day with terrific food.

finishing off year 2

Tuesday 28 Aug- The hunt for the wallet continues to no avail. I studied in the morning and took Noah and Ellie to ELT, the buses were a nightmare going home so in the end we turned back to go to the party later that afternoon, only to discover I’d got the wrong day. The kids weren’t best pleased with me. In the evening I had a remarkable pastoral visit with a new couple to the church who were asking wonderful questions. I then popped in to one of the congregation’s 40th birthday party it was good to see so many church folk there.
Wed 29 Aug – I’m working on a new sermon from Acts 16 in the morning , then had a lengthy pastoral visit with one of our members, a phone call on zoom for presbytery, followed by a bit more study. I had tea and went to pick the kids up from the party only to be force fed curry again. I would argue some training should be given to seminary students on the capacity to eat 2 dinners in close succession. We had a lovely prayer meeting, it feels like people are trickling back from holiday.
Thu 30 Aug – Another day in the study and I managed to get some visiting done to a family in our church that have just moved. We long to see more of them in worship and then visited one of my elders Chuck who has been unwell.
Fri 31 Aug – I took a day reading and finished off Acts 8, I’ve been nervous in using the word conversion, partly because of the connotations in our culture but saw it more clearly today that we have to use the phrase and talk more about regeneration. In the afternoon I met with Israel to talk about ministry and preaching, he’s an able fella.
Sat 1 Sept – Wallet found in the Park Run bag from last Saturday. Park Run was good Noah got a PB I was back under 30. There was a brilliant birthday party in the park in glorious sunshine which Phoebe enjoyed the rest of the day was preparing for Sunday
Sun 2 Sept – It was good to be back preaching in the morning and we had a large congregation, lots of outsiders again which was thrilling. God is gracious in that he often brings people through no connection with anyone which stops us getting proud. I preached on Conversion from Acts 8 and people were responsive. We had folk back for the afternoon and then Israel preached in the evening on Jacob.  He’d worked hard in preparation, He did well and for a beginner he’s got gifts that will be honed by Seminary.

7 Verses for the Christian Life – J.M. Boice


I’m reading James Montgomery Boice’s ‘Foundations of the Christian Faith‘, it’s a series of sermons he preached at Tenth Presbyterian Church in the late 70’s and early 80’s giving the congregation a Systematic Theology. It originally appeared in 4 volumes and then in the late 90’s was put into one attractive hardback edition – it’s styled a comprehensive and readable theology. In lots of ways it’s a remarkable work for not being remarkable, just accessible decent systematics. Boice was a great simplifier and there are lovely little sections…..

The Bible is filled from beginning to end with statements of what God is able to do and will do for those who are his people. Here are seven verses which when put together, cover almost all the fundamental doctrines of Christianity’


Hebrews 7:25 – 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.


2 Timothy 1:12 – 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.


2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.


Hebrews 2:18 – 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


Ephesians 3:20 – 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us


Philippians 3:21 – 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


Jude 24-25 – 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


‘Taken together these verses declare that God is able to save us for this life and for eternity, to keep us from falling into sin and temptation, to lead us to the best in human experience and to satisfy us completely. Are these things true? Yes …. but for one reason only. They are true because they are the eternal and immutable counsel of the God who is sovereign.”


page 124,125

Yr 2 – Day 329 – 339

Day 329 – Friday 17 Aug – It was a day that felt like it would never end, we met up with all the kids and drove to Swansea in the minibus, stopping at Leigh Delamere. We got to Swansea for about 2, Dad was there to pick me up and we set off for Aberystwyth. My father is a wonderful man but maybe not greatest driver anymore, in fairness he is 83. We were there in good time and  it was good to be back at the conference. I found preaching difficult and was pretty discouraged by the end but people were kind. You can watch the sermon here

James Sercombe led and was in good form, the singing as always was remarkable – O for a 1000 Tongues, A Soveriegn Protector, I greet thee who my sure redeemer art, See what a Morning and the Doxology unaccompanied. Jeremy Bailey who is the minister of Bethlehem, Sandfields and chairs the conference and is doing a great job, there are lots more younger families coming than there used to be. It was brilliant to see old friends for the first time in years, Alun and I went down the Prom later in the night reliving our youth but there was no one about apart from kids 20 years younger than we are so we retreated back up the hill.

Day 330 – Saturday 18 Aug – I got a lift back to Swansea first thing with one of the elders in Ebenezer and was back to give the second talk in our series on Romans 5&6. the kids listened really well. Preaching is such a strange thing I enjoyed speaking to our camp far more than Aber. We were down on Caswell in the afternoon and sea was really beautiful, nearly all the kids were in. They’ve settled well. In the evening I went off to meet a potential intern who I don’t think will come to us but it was worth a try.

Day 331 – Sunday 19 Aug – The annual walk round Swansea starts off the day, then I preached in Ebenezer on Isaiah 55 which I enjoyed and it did me good. A magnificent lunch from Daphne and the cooks. In the afternoon we were back on Caswell and again it was brilliant to be in the sea again.  We arrived back just in time for the evening service and Graham preached on 1 John.


Day 332 – Monday 20 Aug – Israel who is with us for a couple of weeks gave the third talk on the start of Romans 6 which was very helpful. Some of the campers are maybe a little bit harder work than other years but it was a good day. Oxwich Bay this year and not great weather, the sea was really calm and I didn’t venture in. Fish and Chips for tea to give the cooks a night off. They loved the quiz in the night and have been in good form all day.
Day 333 – Tuesday 21 Aug – I rejigged my talk on the end of Romans 6  and tried to summarise Romans, I think it’s safe to say I shouldn’t have done that as it wasn’t particularly clear. The kids had their second set of seminars and then we were off to Rhossili, an afternoon of blazing sunshine, great games and the sea was just beautiful. If there’s a better place in the sun I don’t know it. Everyone was pretty zonked on the way back.


Day 334 – Wednesday 22 Aug – I finished the series by going to the end of Romans 8 looking at how we can be sure, straight after we had a Q &A session which in lots of ways I think was the best session of the week, really excellent thoughtful questions.  The kids went off for a scavenger hunt and leaders tidied up the church, we were away by two and arrived back in Ealing just after 7. I made the mistake of not putting a leader in the back of the van and our kids weren’t very well behaved sadly so there’ll be some things to sort out from that. Dropped the minibuses off in Twickenham so was home for 9.30, Gethin was staying with us for the night but I was dead to the world by 10.


Day 335 – Thursday 23 Aug – Work was pretty slow and I didn’t get a great deal done but worked on Daniel 9 for the sermon on Sunday, when I’d preached Daniel years ago I skipped out the end of chapter 9 because I didn’t understand it. It’s funny how people remember that more than they remember than the rest of the series.


Day 336 – Friday 24 Aug – I worked all morning and Jess was around in the afternoon to do some admin. It was our 18th wedding anniversary which I’d forgotten again but that isn’t unusual.


Day 337 – Saturday 25 Aug- A day off doing the usual, though I made it round Parkrun without stopping which I was pleased with. Noah was 3 minutes quicker – humiliating!


Day 338 – Sunday 26 Aug – Chris Roberts outstanding on Malachi 2, so good that someone had arranged to come and see me this week about an issue but said ‘after that sermon I don’t need to come’ which is so encouraging. We’ve had a good number of local visitors come over the summer so I’m beginning to arrange to get together with them. We had some old friends Carlos and Clara over for lunch and then I was preaching Daniel 9 in the evening on prayer. I felt helped in preaching and it was a good number out despite it being holidays.


Day 339 – Monday 27 Aug – I spent a large part of the morning hunting for a lost wallet before we went to Kew but there were no parking spaces at all, first time I can ever remember that happening. So we decamped for a picnic at Daphne’s and then on to Boston Manor Park for the afternoon. A good bank holiday Monday.

Day 326

Yr 2 – Day 326 – Tue 14 Aug – I had masses of prep with Aber and then camp next week. I’m not really getting anywhere and getting back to it after holidays is a killer.Dave Hills finished off his series on Ruth at ELT well. I then had a Pastoral meeting in the afternoon followed by an admin catch up with Jess. In the evening I went to see our oldest and third oldest members. Both of whom were a real delight.

Yr 2 – Day 327 – Wed 15 Aug – I watched the Aber morning address by Paul Mallard and it was a remarkable sermon on suffering, really worth watching. I had a visit in the afternoon, I’m still not really where I want to be for the sermon in Aber and for camp but have run out of time. In the evening John Silva one of our elders led the prayer meeting, Afterwards I went through the wedding service with Olly and Rachel which is fast approaching.

Yr 2 – Day 327 – Thu 16 Aug – We went to pick up the minibuses for camp from Twickenham and were back for mid morning. I went into town to meet Dick Lucas for lunch. He was in terrific form and took me through his material he’s been working on in 2 Timothy and Hebrews. I had a Pastoral Visit and then spent the evening printing out stuff for Aber and Swansea. If you want to watch the Aber sermon tomorrow it’s on youtube here