Day 118 – Wed 27 Dec – In the morning we took the kids to soft play before all the family arrived for lunch. We were all there apart from Aaron (the oldest grandchild) and his wife Emily who had to work. It was a joy to be together, Dad spoke for a moment before lunch about how thankful we should be. In the afternoon instead of the usual uncles v nephews football match we all went down to the beach. Bracelet Bay was glorious, big waves, throwing pebbles into rock pools and a glorious sunset.
We all went back to Pontlliw and dad arrived with Chips from Roma’s and then they played a game which I can never really understand. We’ll not all be together again until Amy’s wedding in June
Day 117 – Wed Dec 27 – A great day of doing very little. We were out round magnificent Swansea in the morning and in the afternoon went to a shopping centre in Bridgend. I nearly bought a funeral coat which is further evidence I am turning into my father. I finished De Graaf Vol 3 in the evening
Day 116 – Boxing Day – It was a beautiful day in London and the morning was very chilled, going to the park and getting ready to leave. We set off to Swansea after lunch and were here for tea. One long hold up but apart from that no problems. In the evening I just read De Graaf and grazed on various bits at my parents.
Day 115 – Christmas Day – The kids were up for 7 and delighted with their gifts. We had church at 10 at Drayton Manor for the first time at Drayton Manor, but the end we were a full house with a family from Indonesia, a whole load of Romanians and Iranians. Apart from family I’m not sure we had any British visitors. I preached on Isaiah 9 but I’m not sure I was as winsome as I should have been. Getting the tone right on Christmas Day is never easy. Christmas Day on a Sunday means a much easier schedule with far less to prepare than a usual Christmas, however I was exhausted for the last few days and prep has been slow for a few weeks.
We had Daphne and Delores from church and two of our neighbours for lunch. It was a great feast and they all stayed for the afternoon. We went with Daphne to the Cradock’s for an hour in the early evening and by the end of the day were totally done in.
Day 114 – Christmas Eve – The family spent the morning doing different jobs, trips to the shops, dropping off presents, getting ready for tomorrow. I popped into Ealing to pick up some things and it wasn’t too crazy. Sandra was round for the day which was good, the kids are very excited for tomorrow.
Noah, Ellie and I went to the home of one of Noah’s school friends for a party. The family is Sri Lankan, and so along with 55 other Sri Lankans we crammed into a small flat. The food was remarkable, really lovely but so hot my mouth was completely numb by the end of it. Mutton Roti Curry with egg is one of the wonders of the world.
We had a lovely time, I left thinking how do we reach these folk with the gospel – tomorrow we’ll celebrate ‘Good news of great joy for all people’. I wish I felt the burden to reach people more.
I did read Church History 101
which is a terrific read – it’s satisfying to read 20 centuries of church history in half an hour!
I can’t remember being so disappointed by a book. I’d been really looking forward to reading it, the title is a great one that intrigues. The book is very brief and begins with a few helpful points on praying the Psalms and the importance of using Scripture in Prayer. Whitney’s main thesis is he basically advocates a mind association technique where you pray whatever comes into your head when you’re reading the bible. It doesn’t matter if that has nothing to do with what the author intended or what the passage means. It’s permissible because the Spirit is at work, helping you to pray and in the end it will be alright because you’ll learn more how to pray biblically. I had to read the chapters a couple of times because I couldn’t really believe what he was saying.
To give a ridiculous example, let’s say you’re reading Isaiah 54 as I was this morning and you come to the phrase in v2 ‘Enlarge our tents’ according to Whitney’s logic it would be ok to make the following step in our prayers – “Enlarge = large – thank-you for my Aunt who is large and is coming for lunch tomorrow, pray that you would enable her to lose weight“, “Tents – you know how much I enjoy camping and how I’d love to take the family in the tent this spring, pray that we have good weather and I might be able to buy a bigger tent.” In all honesty it beggars belief.
Don Whitney has written some really helpful material on the Christian Life however this isn’t one of them.
Day 113 – Fri 23 Dec – The morning began with various present drops round Ealing before we left for the wedding at 11. We got there in good time and amazingly for an Ethiopian marrying a Zimbabwean we started promptly at 12. Amyand Park Chapel was packed, with probably 30 standing at the back. We began with the great African hymn ‘Oh how the grace of God amazes me’, Sinclair Ferguson wrote a book for Ligonier expounding each verse a few years ago. The hymn is good but 7/8 lengthy verses you need a good congregation to keep it going. Gerard Hemming’s married them and I preached on Philippians 2. It was a good service, I used one silly illustration that I shouldn’t have used, other than that it was ok, people were very encouraging. The reception was in Hounslow and the food was fantastic, there was lots of joyful African singing which sounded wonderful. We didn’t stay for the dancing and were home by 8.30.