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.
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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

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

Yr 2 – Day 302 -325

This is duller than usual…..
Yr2 – Day 302 – Sat 21 july – Elie was zonked all day so we didn’t do a great deal. Phoebe thankfully hadn’t caught the bug she was just being her usual self. The weather is glorious, endless cups of teas, wandering about in the fields, a good day
Yr 2 – Day 303 – Sunday 22 July – We were all at Ballyclaire EPC for the day, and the usual summer preachers were there, I think it’s fair to say they weren’t on the best form but we sang the Eternal God by Andrew King in the evening , it’s in Praise but I’d not realise how good it is. All the family were around for lunch which was terrific fun
Yr 2 – Day 304 – Mon 23 July – We started to Potty Training for Phoebe, I’m a broken man! We had cousins round playing with our kids and I feel like I need a holiday from my own children
Yr 2 – Day 305 – Tue 24 July- Day 2 of Potty Training – see yesterday. I bought a new suit! and did get some reading done VanDerGroe on the Heidelberg
Yr 2 – Day 306 – Wed 25 July  – We gave up Potty Training and the whole day was infinitely more enjoyable.
Yr 2 – Day 307 – Thur 26 July – A trip to Carnfunnock park in glorious sunshine, all of us caught the sun
Day 308 – Friday 27 July – Noah and I got our haircut, I got the beard trimmed and all for £9. It was a remarkable Turkish barber complete with a naked flame!! I finished volume 1 of VanDerGroe
Day 309 – Sat 28 July – Did very little apart from going out with Claire’s siblings and wives for a meal which was great fun
Day 310 – Sun 29 July – Rev Roger back and on both ends of the day, Phoebe sick again in the morning so Claire didn’t get out but much better the rest of the day
Day 311 – Mon 30 July – I went with the brother in law up to the wedding venue, Drumrea Presbyterian, it’s a new build but like an American church in the middle of Northern Irish countryside. Brilliant curved wooden cushioned pews that I suspect cost an arm and a leg. In the evening we were out for dinner at one of the elders in the EPC. Tim Trumper and his wife were over from the US, Tim is an old friend of our family who was in university with brother Dave, so we had a great evening with them.
Day 312 -Tuesday 31 July – A doing nothing day and getting ready for the wedding tomorrow.
Day 313 Wed 1 Aug – Wedding Day – The men of the family were out for an ulster fry. Andy Claire’s younger brother was marrying Tiffany and Phoebe gave a cracking performance in the morning. It’s hard to imagine it being more stressful. I had to take her to the ministers house to get a bath as Claire was playing the piano. The minister Richard Murray spoke very well indeed and it was a great day. Phoebe improved and we lasted till the start of the evening do
Day 314 – Thur 2 Aug – We chilled out all day, a trip to the park and then Andrew and Deborah Johnston came round in the evening, he was in the youth group when I was running it at Grove Chapel so it’s always a joy to see him going on.
Day 315 – Fri 3 Aug – I managed to finish volume 2 of VanderGroe on the Heidelberg, it’s a terrific piece of work even if it is a trudge.  In the evening I went with my father in law out for dinner with some folk from the denomination and then on to a Public Lecture. Esmond Burnie was launching his book on Thomas Chalmers, he gave a really fascinating lecture looking at Chalmers Preaching and economics. I think the book will be more dour but the lecture was helpful. DG Hart then spoke on Machen and Politics, he’s an interesting speaker, a bit rambly and firm 2 Kingdom theology. The lecture was ok but it all unravelled in the question and answer session afterwards on how 2 kingdoms actually deals with real life today. Esmond Burnie had some excellent points in the Q&A on Christians and wealth. It was nice to meet Paul Helm and Harrison Perkins who’s about to go on staff at LCPC.
Day 316 – Saturday 4 Aug – Yet again did very little
Day 317 Sun 5 Aug  – We were at Knock EPC for the day with Claire’s oldest brother and family, Phoebe not great on the journey again but ok.  Robert Johnston is doing a terrific work and the congregation is growing. Out to Stormont in the afternoon throwing a rugby ball around.
Day 318 Mon 6 Aug – First day of Knock EPC holiday bible club which our kids loved and I got a few hours to myself. Curry with the inlaws and a good film
Day 319 – Tue 7 Aug – Back to Knock to take the kids and then friends of ours brought a meal round which was a delight.
Day 320 Wed 8 aug – Last full day of hols and trips to the park and holiday club, I settled my debts at the Evangelical Bookshop which becomes an annual affair even managing to leave the shop without buying anything else. Claire’s middle brother and the family were around for the evening.
Day 321 – Thu 9 Aug – We flew out of Belfast at lunchtime and were back home about 5, Noah and Ellie have stayed on for another week, so it’s just the 3 of us.
Day 322 – Fri 10 Aug – I’m going to try getting up earlier which should mean that I can get a few undistracted hours and finish a bit earlier. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep it up but I think I need to change a bit how I’m working. Jess popped in to catch up on some letters and I saw Alun Eb at Earls Court before tea.
Day 323 – Sat 11 Aug – Some reading in the morning and then I was off the rest of the day, there was a fair bit to do around the house.
Day 324 – Sun 12 Aug – Chris Roberts made a strong start on Malachi 1 – really helpful on election. I was baptising one of our missionaries children and tried to speak on the responsibilities of baptism . Really good to have visitors and I was surprised how full we were both morning and night. Graham had got hold of a copy of Cruden’s Concordance from 1817, which is a delightful gift.
Arthur Keefer preached for us in the evening in Hebrews 1, he’s Assistant Chaplain at Eton, he had some great thoughts and an absolutely magnificent voice! It was lovely to be back.
Day 325 – Mon 13 Aug – I have the talks to prep for the Swansea camp and I’m speaking Friday night of Aber conference which I’m dreading. I did a couple of Pastoral visits in the afternoon, then a Deacons meeting in the night which was good, lots of needs. Gethin was staying at ours on his way to the UFM conference so it was a late one.

Jesus, eternal God – Andrew King

Jesus, eternal God,
became the Son of man;
obediently the path he trod,
his Father’s perfect plan:
he came to make God known,
he died to draw death’s sting,
he lives, the Lamb upon the throne,
our Prophet, Priest and King.

2. Our Prophet, he explains
all we can know of God,
for only he eternal reigns,
the uncreated Word.
In ages long since gone
God spoke in various ways,
but now has spoken by his Son—
obey him all your days!

3. Our great High Priest, who prayed
for those who shed his blood,
who once our full atonement made,
now pleads for us with God;
though sinless, well he knew
temptations like our own,
and so can sympathize with you:
come boldly to his throne.

4. Our conquering King is he;
he dies, to die no more!
He lives, appointed now to be
God’s Son in risen power.
His kingdom has no end;
to come, yet present now,
and all, as rebel or as friend,
one day to him will bow.

5.Our Prophet, Priest and King,
he meets our every need;
to him your lives and praises bring—
this man is God indeed.
To speak, to save, to reign,
he came to us in grace,
and when at last he comes again
we’ll see him face to face.