Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Covenant Theology at the John Owen

It was possible once again this week to sit in as an auditor for a series of lectures from Garry Williams on Covenant Theology. There was a  bumper turn out of some 14 men, most of whom are doing the MTh course. Garry's approach was to give us his notes with a series of questions which we worked through as well as tackling a number of set texts (by Boston, Petto, etc) presented by the students working for credits. It was great to work through the material on the various covenants trying to come to some conclusions on the various issues. If they repeat the course, it is one well worth attending.

Midweek Meeting September 2 2015



We were 11 tonight. We looked at Psalm 13. It's a brief psalm (only six verses) that starts in the doldrums of how long and ends on a note of joyful praise. I don't think I'd preached on it before. I heard someone have a go at it this week and thought it would be a good for us, which it appeared to be. Good time of prayer too. I couldn't find a version of Psalm 13 in or hymn book. This is my attempt
 
How long, Lord, will I be forgot?
How long your face not see?
How long my thoughts churn, sad at heart,
How long my foe mock me?

Lord my God, look on me, answer,
Give light, from death save me;
"I've overcome" my foe will say,
Foes glad my fall to see.

But in your cov'nant love I trust;
Salvation glad to see.
Sing gladly to the Lord I must,
For he's been good to me.

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Lord's Day August 30 2015


It was good to be preaching in Childs Hill again yesterday. I decided to preach on the sovereignty of God in the morning - a subject we are always in danger of neglecting. I expounded Psalm 135:6. It seemed to me that a good balance would be to preach in the evening on human responsibility. For that I decided to go to 2 Corinthians 5:10 which speaks of the judgement day. It was very stimulating to preach on these texts and I hope that it was a blessing to those who heard. Quite a few were away but there were visitors too. An Iranian man has begun to attend and we are seeking to get to know him. Numbers were rather low in the evening.

Midweek Meeting August 26 2015

Almost forgot to note my first midweek meeting back here in Childs Hill. People are still away so there were not a vast number present but we had a good time of sharing and praying preceded by a message from 1 John 3:1-3 reminding us that we are already God's children and in the future we will see Christ and be like him What an incentive to purity in our lives. What a great thing to meet with God's people.

i thank You God for most this amazing day

i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings:
and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)
 
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no of all nothing –
human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake
and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
e.e. cummings 1894-1962
 
I don't know much about old e e cummings except his penchant for small letters. I like this poem though. (Everything in me wants to change that first line but that is what he wrote). See here too.

10 Words for water

1. Aqua
2. Adam's Ale (wine)
3. Council Pop
4. Aqua Pura
5. Wet stuff
6. The universal solvent
7. Tap juice
8. Aitch Two O
9. Dihydrogen monoxide
10. Hydrogen hydroxide

Lord's Day August 23 2015

 
I'm a bit behind with this but I was sat listening again this last Lord's Day. We were in the Cardiff area after the wedding and stayed with relatives and so we went to their church, Emmanuel Baptist in Gabalfa, Cardiff. The preacher for the day was Dave Norbury who gently and winningly encouraged us from Scripture - from Psalm 78:19 in the morning and from Acts 6 in the evening. The first was a reminder of what God can do and the second a call to follow him. We also had a brilliantly told children's story in the morning. Dave Norbury has a background in education and Beach Missions and until recently was General Secretary of the EMW. In the evening my wife's brother-in-law interviewed him. I believe he is currently a member in Llanelli  Free Church.

Lovely wedding in South Wales

I was in South wales last Saturday for the marriage of Bronwen Curnow and Tom Roberts. I know Bronwen's parents and she has been coming to us whilst up in London doing midwifery. Tom is a member at Litchard Mission, Bridgend and they met on an EMW Camp (which is where they are now, would you believe?). The wedding was in Tabor, Llantrisant, where the Curnows have settled more recently (having been in St Mellon's before that). There was a  cake reception over the road after the service which I led and at which Tim Curnow preached. After that we headed for Peterston- Super- Ely where the excellent sit down meal and evening twmpath took place. In the picture you can see the happy couple with the Childs Hill representatives and a Cardiff couple based in St Briavel's who we sat with and had a very good time. The church we learned is the one used for an episode of Gavin and Stacey (a group of tourists arrived there during the afternoon). Great day.

Diguised guitarists quiz

These guitarists are in disguise. Can you recognise them (going from easy to hard)
 
1. James Hendericks
2. Pierre Olive
3. Henry Mervyn
4. James Apprentice Squire
5. Geoffrey Stream
6. Johann Agricola
7. Throw Fruit
8. Burn
9. The Boundary
10. Mighty Might
 
Answers - Jimi H/Peter G/Hank M/Jimmy P/Jeff B/Jan A/Chuck B/Slash/The Edge/Brian May - Brian means strong

Retro Album 33 - In Another Land

In Another Land is an album recorded by Larry Norman and released in 1976. It is apparently the third album in a "trilogy". It contains some of the most well-known work by the controversial American artist. Norman claimed it was censored by the "mother company" which insisted on removing any music they felt was "too negative" or "too controversial." Commercial pressure forced him to remove four songs as they believed that Norman had included too many songs, and that the deleted songs could be released on his next album.
One of the songs on the album is The Sun Began to Rain. "Knocked out ... in just over a minute" it involved the British comedian Dudley Moore on piano. Righteous Rocker #3 is a reprise of a song which originally appeared on Only Visiting This Planet. The album also contains a souped-up version of Why Don't You Look Into Jesus, another song which made its first appearance on Only Visiting This Planet. In the later version the controversial second verse from the original ("Gonorrhea on Valentine's Day/You're still looking for the perfect lay," etc.) is conspicuously absent. Song For A Small Circle Of Friends is a piece written for Norman's famous friends in the music industry. The song includes allusions to Randy Stonehill, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. He only knew Stonehill.

10 Puns in the Bible

1. Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man [Hebrew: adam] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: adamah] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
2. Genesis 2:25/3:1 The man and his wife were both naked, [Hebrew: arumim]and they felt no shame. Now the serpent was the most cunning [Hebrew: arum] of all the animals that the LORD God had made.
3. Genesis 40: 13, 19, 20 In all three verses the phrase lift up your head is found but not always with the same meaning
4. Judges 15:15, 16 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men. Then Samson said With a donkey's jawbone I have made donkeys of them With a donkey's jawbone I have killed a thousand men." This could be with the jawbone of a donkey I piled many piles [Hebrew Bilchi hachamor chamor chamorasayim]
5. Jeremiah 1:11, 12 The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "I see the branch of an almond tree," [Hebrew shâqêd] I replied. The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching [Hebrew shâqad] to see that my word is fulfilled."
6. Jeremiah 20:3 The next day, when Pashhur (the name means spread with  nobility) released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, "The LORD's name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.
7. Hosea 1:4, 5 Then the LORD said to Hosea, "Call him Jezreel, [Hebrew God will scatter] because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel."
8. Amos 8:1, 2 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. Amo 8:2 "What do you see, Amos?" he asked. "A basket of ripe fruit," I answered. Then the LORD said to me, "The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
9. Micah 1:10-15 Tell it not in Gath; weep not at all. In Beth Ophrah roll in the dust. Pass by naked and in shame, you who live in Shaphir. Those who live in Zaanan will not come out. Beth Ezel is in mourning; it no longer protects you. Those who live in Maroth writhe in pain, waiting for relief, because disaster has come from the LORD, even to the gate of Jerusalem. You who live in Lachish, harness fast horses to the chariot. You are where the sin of Daughter Zion began, for the transgressions of Israel were found in you. Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath. The town of Akzib will prove deceptive to the kings of Israel. I will bring a conqueror against you who live in Mareshah. The nobles of Israel will flee to Adullam.
(“Beth-le-aphrah” means “town of dust” so Micah says “in Beth-le-aphrah roll yourselves in the dust.”; In “Pass on your way, inhabitants of Shaphir” the name Shaphri is very close to the Hebrew word for fair or beautiful, a “fair town.”;  the inhabitants of Za-anan (“going out”) will not be able to go out. Beth-ezel (“Standton”) will have its standing place taken away; In Maroth (bitter land) they wait anxiously for better things, but it will not come; for Jerusalem, the city of peace, misfortune and disaster is coming. No peace is coming.; Lachish - “Chariotsburg” - is addressed in reference to the chariots that were stored there.; Moresheth Gath: “betrothed” - the city is promised to another: “Therefore you shall give parting gifts to Moresheth Gath.”; Achzib - “Deceitville” shall be a deceitful thing; Mareshah - (possessor or heir) - will have a new, foreign heir.)
10. Matthew 6:16a When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure [Greek
aphanizō] their faces to show [Greek phainō] others they are fasting.
(Also see Matthew 3.9 and Mark 4.26 where it is claimed that the Aramaic behind the Greek involves punning))

Mary Jones Walk

I wore myself out yesterday doing a section of the Mary Jones work that the Bible Society have put together. See here. I only want as far as the Cross Foxes Inn as I had to walk back to collect the car. It's about 10 miles tough I got lost once or twice so took longer. It was a beautiful day. I'll have to do the rest of it some time.

Lord's Day August 16 2015

Once again I was not preaching and once again I was listening to my father-in-law, Geoff Thomas. Back in Alfred Place there were still a few people still in Aber after the conference. It was nice to meet Derek Sewell and Jeremy Bailey and others. In the evening I met a man from Cwmbran who always stays on for the Welsh conference and had a good chat with a man from Newport who had come north to see the meteor shower and had been "abducted by Christians" and taken to conference meetings. He was thinking seriously about the gospel.
As for the preaching Geoff is in the midst of a series in the morning from Acts 17. He spoke of the need to seek God - with our minds, our souls, our bodies and in the Word of God. In the evening we had a golden oldie - Galatians 2:20 and what is a Christian. Five answers were given - a human being, who has an exalted view of God, who applies theology to his daily life, who has assurance that God has saved him and who is "practically omnipotent" (!).

Devauden



I recently travelled from Aberystwyth to Chepstow and back and on my journey I came to the little village of Devauden (Dyfawden). It has a lovely green with a bilingual noticeboard and a bust of John Wesley explaining that this was the first place where Wesley preached in October 1739. The relevant entry in the published journal says
 
Monday, 15.—Upon a pressing invitation, some time since received, I set out for Wales. About four in the afternoon I preached on a little green at the foot of the Devauden (a high hill, two or three miles beyond Chepstow) to three or four hundred plain people on "Christ our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." After sermon, one who I trust is an old disciple of Christ, willingly received us into his house: whither many following, I showed them their need of a Saviour from these words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
16. In the morning I described more fully the way to salvation—"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved"; and then, taking leave of my friendly host, before two came to Abergavenny. ...
18. When we were at Devauden on Monday, a poor woman who lived six miles off, came thither in great heaviness. She was deeply convinced of sin, and weary of it; but found no way to escape from it . She walked from thence to Abergavenny on Tuesday, and on Wednesday from Abergavenny to Usk. Thence in the afternoon she came to Ponty-pool; where between twelve and one in the morning, after a sharp contest in her soul, our Lord got unto himself the victory: and the love of God was shed abroad in her heart, testifying that her sins were forgiven her. She went on her way rejoicing to Cardiff, whither I came in the afternoon.
The noticeboard reveals that this woman was Ann Lewis (nee Rosser) who with her husband set up a Methodist Society in their cottage. This led to the establishing of the small Earlswood Methodist Chapel in 1754, one of the earliest purpose-built chapels to survive in Monmouthshire. They say the chapel was built with stone from the nearby quarry some being carried by owmen in their aprons! It is claimed to be the oldest Methodist chapel in Wales. Ann travelled widely on foot to raise funds, including many visits to Bristol via the ferry from Black Rock at Portskewett.