Day 297 – Tue 27 June – The day began with my old housemate Aled Elias arriving from Cardiff. We lived together in premarriage days and he was in London for a conference. I studied all morning, I’m trying to do some more work on Colossians I preached through it last year but didn’t do a good job on it. I want to preach an overview sermon on it this Autumn.
Will Allen who is a student at Oak Hill and under care with IPC is on placement with us for two weeks and he preached at ELT on Exodus 11 and 12. He’s very easy on the ear and people really enjoyed him. He had good discerning application and has got lots of potential, I suspect there’ll be a bidding war between IPC churches to get him as Assistant. We’re going to work him hard preaching 4 times over the next couple of weeks but it’ll be good for him and us. We met to talk more and give feedback after lunch.
I went into town to meet a Dutch friend of mine who is over for EMA. I was early so hung around the Barbican for a bit and saw some folk, the Barbican is an underground bunker it’s hard to imagine a worse venue for preaching. My friend Roland is a minister in the GKV and their Synod has made the decision to allow Women ministers and elders. It’s a really difficult situation and I feel greatly for the churches who don’t agree with this decision and yet are in the GKV. Roland has a congregation of over a 1000 in Assen and is a good man, how we must pray for him and others there. I brought him back to Ealing, Aled was around we had great curry and I showed Roland our church building. For the rest of the evening I just read.
Day 296 – Mon 25 June – I woke up feeling really low, it’s bizarre it had been a great weekend and 4 new elders elected but it felt really discouraging. Part of it was maybe a Pastoral situation but I think most of it was irrational. It was the kind of morning where you wonder what you’re doing and all sorts of fears for the future creep in. I listened to two or 3 sermons of a younger man I want to give some help to, did some reading and then popped in to see Alun Ebenezer which did me good.
In the afternoon I did a Pastoral visit, and then had to take old friends of our family who had arrived from Australia to South London. It was 3 hours on the road and back in time for the deacons meeting. It was an excellent heartening, good fun meeting.
So I finished the day really upbeat and encouraged, a complete contrast to the morning. Thankfully most days are not this up and down.
The talks and outlines from Catalyst are available to listen to here.
Day 295 – Sun 25 June – Andrew Randall gave us an absolute feast both ends of the day. I got to sit with the kids during both sermons which I really enjoyed. Andrew’s preaching was warm, accessible and lots of good detail in the text. People responded so well to his ministry. We had a picnic lunch and some folk stayed around all afternoon in the sunshine. One glorious addition was Evelyn’s Chicken wings coated in this remarkable Jerk Chicken-esque sauce.
After the morning service we had our church members meeting to vote on elders. I was delighted that all four candidates were voted in with an overwhelming majority. They’ll next get their application forms into the Candidates and Credentials committee and be examined God willing shortly after.
Day 294 – Sat 24 June – We started off with the second day of the weekend and I was helping with the kids so missed Andrew’s second talk on Ruth, people were raving about it. At the 11am slot we had a session on Eldership, Andrew spoke on how his elders had been such a blessing to the church in Larbert. Chris and Graham spoke on their experience of being elders at IPC and then we interviewed the four prospective candidates for eldership. A few people had asked questions beforehand then then there were some from the floor. The four guys spoke so well, they articulated their answers honestly and humbly. It was thrilling to have seen these men grow in their understanding and maturity. I hope the congregation felt as encouraged as I did.
The afternoon was free with people throwing a Frisbee round and playing football. We were fortunate to have such good weather and Haven Green Baptist is a brilliant venue. Andrew gave his third session on Ruth and despite us all being pretty exhausted did an excellent job on chapter 2. The evening meal worked very well and it was an excellent day all round. We disappeared before the Ceilidh got going.
Day 293 – Friday 23 June – There was lots of admin things for the church weekend which needed doing in the morning. I got some reading done and then met one of my elders for lunch in Chiswick – Rabbit Paella is a glorious thing. Friendship amongst elders is vital I think it keeps church leadership healthy. From there I was back in Ealing to look at a potential venue for ELT when we have to move out of the town hall after Christmas. It looks really positive.
Andrew and Kay Randall arrived from Larbert and were around for tea. Our Church Weekend at home began in the evening and Andrew preached outstandingly well on Ruth 1:1-5. He had some beautiful turns of phrase and it was terrific preaching. It was lovely to seek folk so enthusiastic about it too. I went on to a birthday party afterwards which was very good fun but pretty exhausting.
Day 292 – Thu 22 June – We had team meeting first thing, there’s quite a bit to get ready for the church weekend so I spent time planning for that and doing bits of planning for next year. I need to decide what to preach in the autumn and am working on a load of different things, I’m not entirely set on anything at the moment. It’ll probably be the early chapters of Matthew, it would be nice to preach them not at Christmas time.
I cycled down to Kew Bridge for a Pastoral Visit and was back for tea time. I was due to be out with one of the men from church in the evening but he had to cancel so I’ve had 3 nights in this week which is really unusual.
By virtue of this departure from God, they expelled God, with His holy and glorious image , from their souls, extinguishing that image so completely that nothing remained except some wretched remains. (p37)
This regeneration, however, is nothing less than a complete recreation, renewal and transformation of man, as well as of his disposition, his propensities, his character, and his nature. In their totality men are set free from the bondage of sin and death, become subject to God and are made subservient to his righteousness. (p40)