Day 300 – Fri 30 July – The morning was non stop with team meeting and then meeting with the Inter Faith Advisor at University of West London!!! He is a Korean man who has found himself in the Anglican church via HTB but at heart is a Charismatic Baptist Monk, that’s his description not mine. There’s a possibility he might want me to do something for him in September but we’ll see. We only met briefly because I had a Pastoral meeting with some folk who used to be in our congregation. Will Allen and I finished off the first chapter of the Work of the Pastor and then we had the Liss Session Meeting in Ealing, we talked a little bit about the transition from Doug being the Pastor to James starting on September 1st. It was a good meeting. In the evening I got ready for preaching in Crickhowell this weekend and did some painting in the Loft which I should have done before now.
This week hasn’t been a good week for getting ahead on planning or reading, I’m hopeful I can get some more prep done for next year.
Day 299 – Thu 29 June – We had a good time at Session prayer to start the day and I also met with Will Allen in the morning to start reading through “The work of the Pastor” by Willie Still it’s a classic, probably my favourite book on Pastoral Ministry. In the afternoon I popped into town to see Willie Philip who was in London for the EMA. I got some more reading done and in the evening I had someone cancel a Pastoral Visit so I did some work in Philippians.
Day 298 – Wed 28 June – In the morning I had an early start to get to court in Islington. I was a character reference for an Iranian man who is part of our church. Chuck and Barbara from our congregation were also there to give evidence. The case has been delayed 3 times and we were the second case of the day and so had to wait until 12. The barrister prepared us for the case, our brother S from Iran shared something of the situation there. In all honesty I don’t think I had realised before just how horrific the situation is. He was called in first and quizzed then each us was called in individually. I spoke for about 5 minutes, there were no questions from the home office who seemed woefully underprepared, the judge asked a couple of things. The verdict will take a couple of months but our barrister was very positive about our prospects.
I’ve been reluctant in the past to go to court, I’ve been asked quite a number of times but felt in this case that our brother is so clearly a Christian that I needed to go and speak on his behalf.
I was back mid afternoon, did some reading and then in the evening we had house-group. Thankfully 1 Thessalonians went much better than Amos and there was good discussion and time of prayer.
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.