Yr 2 – Day 97 – Wed 6 Dec – Wed 6 Dec – I had toothache all day which was pretty grim, I fear Expresso Kebabs might be responsible. I studied in the morning and did a hospital visit before popping into town for lunch with Alun Ebenezer. The afternoon was a bit more study but slow – Derek Kidner on Numbers can’t arrive soon enough. Prayer Gathering was low on numbers which disappoints me but we had a good time of prayer. I’m hoping the toothache disappears tomorrow.
Year 2 – Day 96 – Tue 5 Dec – I had a meeting with the headteacher of the kids school about some issues regarding basically taking Jesus out of Christmas, it was fascinating and has got me pumped to preach at the carol services. I caught up with Chuck and then went into Ealing to work. Gethin was back on at ELT and one of local characters who turns up in church every couple of years was there. Thankfully he behaved himself during the talk. Team meeting after was a good time. It was our session meeting so I did a bit of prep for that. There were 11 of us from Ealing plus James Buchanan and Simon Arscott. We talked about various things and I have out 3 papers on Pastoral Visiting – Joey Pipa wrote a 2 parter for Ref 21 –
Pastoral Visitation – The God given responsibility to Shepherd
The Lost Work of Pastoral Visitation
and then David Murray has a nice piece on ‘A normal Pastoral Visit’.
Our shepherding lists now have about 8 or 9 households which is more manageable and I think the men will be really good at it. We’ve tried it before but then there have just been too many people to go round. I also think it allows to think seriously about what church membership entails which is something we’ve not done before.
Afterwards James and I went for a Kebab to chat more about Liss, sadly I think Expresso kebabs has been taken over by new owners.
Yr 2 – Day 95 – Mon 4th Dec – I struggled to get going during the morning and spent some time mapping out Christmas sermons to no avail. St Helen’s have put out this on Preaching at Christmas which I think is very good. I’d want to add that I think there should be some shock factor, I feel like folk need to be slightly woken up at a carol service.
My parents popped in briefly during the afternoon on their way back home to Wales and then I went into town to have a coffee with Willie Philip. Willie is a 10 talent bloke, he’s a good bible teacher but a genius when it comes to building projects. He’s done 4 in the time we’ve been doing one. He told me of a mini commentary by Derek Kidner on Numbers that I hope is going to get me out of some holes!!
I was back for bedtime, Noah and I are 200 pages into the Fellowship of the Ring and loving it. I popped out on a Pastoral visit and there was a houseful of folk when I arrived which was good fun.
Yr 2 – Day 94 – Sun 3 Dec – We were on chapters 3 &4 of the Confession in Deacons training, chapter 3 provokes lots of questions and there’s great need for humility in dealing with it. We baptised Kimia in our morning service who has become a Christian through the change in her mum. I find baptism so emotional and this particularly so. Chris Roberts preached the second of his Hebrews 1 sermon sermons this time on the difference between Angels and Jesus, there were some terrific quotes from Owen and the Creeds. We were just at home in the afternoon and then I was preaching from Numbers 5&6 in the night, I didn’t feel it was that good but people were really encouraging afterwards. There was a pastoral situation to deal with and then I’d clean forgotten I was speaking to our youth group on Ch7 of the WCF, thankfully I had my copy with all my handwritten notes over it so I just about got away with it. They are such a great group and the leaders are terrific, we’re very fortunate to have to them.
The Message of The Person of Christ – Robert Letham – IVP, 2013, 267 pages
Tim Chester recently wrote a piece on why books about Jesus don’t sell , which is probably sadly true. Bob Letham is one of our finest theologians in the UK, he’s a no frills kind of man, there’s not a huge amount of illustration in his writing and thankfully never any imaginary scenarios of Ahmed meeting Alice. There’s no attempt to sugarcoat the chapters but it’s well written, clear and accessible theology. He writes well written books.
The Person of Christ is aimed at a popular level in the Bible Speaks Today themes series (which is very mixed and has some real duds in it). Letham divides the book into 5 sections Christ.. Promised/ Incarnate/ Crucified/ Risen/ Ascended. There are 25 chapters each expositing a bible passage, much of it is familiar ground and yet there is no greater theme than the Person of Christ. There are lovely insights which I’d not seen before and it would be ideal to read a chapter every day or to use in meeting up with friends to discuss a section and pray.
There is a masterful appendix on Did the Church get it wrong? Who is Jesus Christ? From Nicaea (AD325) to Constantinople II (AD 553) and I particularly enjoyed the following quote on p94
Book of the Week 1 – Mansoul
Book of the Week 2 – Remember Him
Book of the Week 3 – Searching for a Better God
Yr 2 – Day 93 – David Gibson gave us his lecture on ‘Why the Reformation still matters?’ which was full of excellent things, you can read an earlier version here. There were really only two items for Presbytery, dealing with a difficult situation and introducing the church planting strategy document. I think it’s far to say both dragged a bit! Claire wasn’t feeling well so I managed to get an earlier train home and got back for 3. Although I got work done on the train I’m still not happy with Numbers 5 & 6. The rest of the day was just taken up being around home.
Year 2 – Day 92 – Fri 1 Dec – I was on the bus before 6 in the freezing cold, my train to York left at 7 and I’d hoped to get work done on the way up but just slept. We had Church Planting Committee Meeting in the morning which dragged a bit but was useful. The Church Planting Document that will go to Presbytery is pretty much done. Presbytery proper began after lunch with James Buchanan preaching on Philemon, there wasn’t a great deal of business, so we had reports, couple of sessions of prayer and then set up a committee looking at potential Presbyterian churches in SE Asia who have contacted us. Trinity York provided supper and then most of Presbytery went back to the Roberts’ home. I was staying with Jonty in Leeds so we drove on there, it wasn’t too late a night.