Year 2 – Day 22 – Fri 22 Sept – I was up just after 4 and we were on the road by 4.30. It was a comedy morning from the off. I’d told Donald we’d pick him up at 5.55 when I meant 4.55, the minibus is shabby chic to say the least, at times on the motorway with my foot to the floor we were at 35mph and the window on the drivers side gradually slides down, the handle doesn’t work so you just have to yank it up. 6 hours later and another 45 minutes to find a parking space we arrived in York. There were around 45 young folk at the Keystone Conference with another 30/40 expected tomorrow, Simon Arscott is the main speaker this year on Haggai. I only heard one of the sessions and it was outstanding on building the church, powerful preaching. There are different seminars and I was doing one on ‘Who are you afraid of? and fear’ by the end of it those attending looked as exhausted as I felt. We were at the Roberts’ for a BBQ with everyone and I was relieved to make it to bed.
Year 2 – Day 21 – Thu 21 Sept – I had a decent morning finishing off Psalm 16, there’s so much there and it’s a glorious Psalm. I’m ok on the evening sermon but still far behind. I was picking up the ancient minibus from Southall that our sister church New Life Massih Ghar have lent us and then I was in during the evening, looking after Phoebe while Claire went to the club 16 and was off the rest of the time.
We’ve produced prayer notes for our Presbytery Churches that can be downloaded Here
Year 2 – Day 20 – Wed 20 Sept- My routine is pretty much shot this week and I had another pretty unproductive day in the study. The last two weeks I was ahead but my mind has been all over the place this week.
I did a couple of Pastoral visits in the afternoon and then we had housegroup in the evening. We were on our second study of the IPC distinctives document and although there are bits that need to be added and rewritten it was a helpful discussion.
Presbytery members arrived up in Aberdeen on the Thursday and Friday with committees took up the whole of the first morning. Presbytery began properly began in the afternoon with singing Luther’s 46th A mighty fortress is our God before Professor Donald Macleod of the Free Church gave us two lectures.
The first being on Munus Triplex: Christ’s Threefold Office. He expounded how these functions correspond to our basic Spiritual needs. Our need for knowledge is met by Christ as Prophet, the need of forgiveness sis met by our great Priest and our need for deliverance and protection is found in Christ as King. He beautifully drew out how Christ fulfils this threefold office in his pre incarnate, humiliated and exalted states.
His second session was a masterful reflection on Gethsemanee from Mark 14. He was on familiar ground and if you’ve read Prof Macleod’s the Person of Christ you can get a flavour of some of the rich teaching we enjoyed. There were beautiful insights on the humanity of Christ. Both addresses should be on the website soon.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up in hearing church reports and prayer. Many of our congregations are looking at buildings and are establishing themselves. There’s nothing remarkable happening and yet slow and steady growth taking place. There are a large number of ruling elders being trained which is a source for great thanksgiving. Trinity Aberdeen provided a lovely meal and a few of us ended up at a hotel for a while
The Saturday morning began with worship, we sang a wonderful new hymn written by Andrew Randall on the Apostle’s Creed (pictured above), Gethin Jones who is spending the year with us in Ealing whilst under care. He preached from 1 John 2:12-17 which is not an easy passage but he had some excellent insights into the text. Gethin has been trained at Westminster and so you can see his training coming through in his preaching.
The presbytery business was quite light with a report of a successful visit frm the Home Office which looks at how we grant visas. It was a good thing to remove loan elders from Liss and what took probably the longest part of the morning was a motion to for a study committee on the growth of IPC abroad. Following a short break we had a report on the Church Planting Committee where Matthew Roberts presented the initial draft of our strategy regarding planting new churches. Candidates and Credentials who are very busy at the moment processing lots of elder applications also fed back to Presbytery.
The other two bits of news are that we elected David Gibson as the new moderator to start probably in December. Chris Cradock has done an excellent job for us these last couple of years and it’s encouraging that we now have a number of men who could easily do it which wasn’t always the case. We’ve also made a recommendation for Synod Moderator.
All in all a quiet presbytery but that is good. The new book of Liturgy has been published on Amazon and that will be a great help to us
Yr 2 – Day 19 – Tue 19 Sept – It was the first early morning prayer gathering at Dean Hall and although a couple of our regulars were away we had a really terrific time of prayer. I came away so encouraged by it, I was hoping to get into the second day of the Affinity council but I had to see a couple of folk after the early morning prayer and in the end it wasn’t worth going in for it. I spent the morning in Café Nero working, when I say working that is probably putting on a positive spin on it. I got so little done and my mind was so slow, I’d have been better off going for a run or something. I need to avoid meetings on a Monday as they knock out two days.
Gethin Jones was on his third talk at ELT and a new lady was in from flyering. He gave us a helpful exposition on the parable of the weeds. We had team meeting and then I was back home to see the kids. It was Donald’s birthday yesterday so I popped in on drinks for him which was good fun.
Yr 2 – Day 18 – Mon 18 Sept – The morning began again with trying to get ahead on sermon prep but I was not as successful this week. I made very little progress on Psalm 18. I made my way to Highbury for the Affinity Council Meeting I was quite heavily involved 7 or 8 years ago but I’m useless on committees and so gave up. Graham Nicholls has been the director for the past year, he came to our Presbytery in June and asked that I come back to the Council. It was lovely to catch up with folk and I do think there is a value particularly for small little denominations like ours. Presbyterians are well represented -EPCEW, EPCI, RP’s, FCS, FCC are all there. FIEC are the biggest grouping and fair play to them, they send their heavyweights along each time which is a credit to them.
Steve Timmis had been invited to address the council and spoke on ‘A tale of 2 cities – living well in a changing world’. He’s the Pastor of Crowded House and CEO of Acts 29 – I’ve not got on well with his books but it was an interesting session.
- This really is a global village – with all it’s cultural complexity, exciting but fraught
- Village life is complex – Culturally defined expectations of life detrimentally effect discipleship and syncretism isn’t just out there. Our culture is saying – we should expect and pursue comfort, happiness and fulfilment – this is all there is.
- Our problem is not that we enjoy things but we expect and demand these things. He gave a cracking illustration of flying business class. We must prepare people for a life of hard, toil, unfulfilment which is never a message that has gone well. These cultural expectations are detrimental to our discipleship and undermine our contentment, community, communion with God and others and our commission.
I likes his line that one of the most stultifying things for our discipleship is extra curricular activities.
I enjoyed his talk, I wish he’d spoken more about the joys and opportunities of our culture but it was very thought provoking.
I had supper with the men and it was great to catch up with Prof David Mckay from the RP’s.