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.

Grace Baptist Assembly 2016 02

This morning we had two messages at Assembly from Tim Curnow. The first was on the church and the state and the second on the church and the world. The first message was a very clear and helpful outline of the nonconformist, anti-establishment position as seen in Scripture. The second, more difficult message sought to outline the New Testament position on the Christian and the world. We spent some time after these messages in discussion of both messages, which was helpful. These topics are part of the bread and butter of an assembly like this but it was good to be going over it once again.

Grace Baptist Assembly 2016 01

It's good to be at the Grace Baptist Assembly again in Swanwick with around 120 others. The committee kindly asked me to chair this year and so I opened with a sermon from Revelation 7 emphasising the everlasting rest that is ours in Christ.
After that Micky Mollalegn from Amyand Park spoke in our first news session on the work of the gospel in his native Ethiopia. It was a well informed introduction to the history of that nation. We also had a short report from Ian Jemmett regarding a man they are seeking to support in Zimbabwe.
The third section of the day was a preaching session which I chaired with Alun McNabb who spoke powerfully and in a challenging way on John 13:34, 35. We had hoped to hear Mr McNabb two years ago but he was unwell. It was worth waiting. A full day tomorrow. If you want to hear today's messages they can be downloaded from the website here.

Lord's Day, May 22 2015

It was my birthday Sunday so I decided to preach a birthday sermon in the morning. I preached from 2 Corinthians 4:5. about not preaching ourselves but preaching Christ as Lord. In the evening we carried on in Mat8 and looked at two principles of discipleship. We were pretty low in numbers morning and evening. People were travelling elsewhere, ill, busy or (as is increasingly the case among unbelievers) working. There were no new faces either which is fairly unusual for us. No-one responded to the tracts we gave out the day before (which is more typical). So it was a little flat I'd say. You never know what happens on those Sundays, however.

10 People who died at the age of 57

(above Cook and Corbett)
1. Prince (1958-2016)
2. Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)
3. Ian Dury (1942-2000)
4. Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999)
5. Peter Cook (1937-1995)
6. Michel Foucault (1926-1984)
7. Harry H Corbett (1925-1982)
8. Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)
9. Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)
10. Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)

I like to make lists like this one around this time of the year. Sobering lists.

Midweek Meeting, May 18 2016

So there we were back to it last night to consider the Scriptures and to pray - yet another variation on the number 12 or so. Why people come or don't come I'm never really sure. Anyway we tackled a big text, 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. I hope I handled it correctly. It certainly was a challenge to me and I hope to others as well. Then (nearly) everyone prayed.

June Banner

This is just to alert you to the June Banner of truth mag which includes an article by yours truly - God's sheep, as safe as safe can be. Do check it out. The boy on the cover is J C Ryle.

Genesis 35:4

We read Genesis 35 yesterday including verse 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. You wonder what the problem was with gold earrings but then may be the earrings were on the idols (as above).

Lord's Day, May 15 2016

Last Lord's Day was interesting and varied. I preached two fairly brief sermons on Revelation 22:6ff and Matthew 8:14-17. We were slow to fill up in the morning. I was pleased to see two visitors who have not been for a while but they did not make it to sermon time for some reason, which is disappointing. There were others missing too, including two children with chicken pox, poor things. We were a decent number in the evening. That was preceded by the Lord's Supper. Part of you feels you're getting nowhere and part feels there's yet hope. The sermons are here and here on our website.

International Quiz Evening

We had our international quiz evening last Saturday and it was an encouraging time. We had a good turn out with about 30 present, including good number of outsiders. The quiz went okay (though the questions could have been easier). Robin Asgher spoke well. There was a lovely spread of food and just about enough of it. Lots' of people worked very hard. We had been finding that midweek meal and message was not working so well perhaps this new approach will be the way forward.

Comics as a kid

One of the perks in our house was that we were allowed a weekly comic. As best I remember these were the ones I took from the ages of about 5-11.

Incongruously

I just blogged this over on one of my other blogs:
Because I love words so much I can sometimes remember where I first came across a word. As a teenager I was a big fan of T Rex. In May 1972, aged 13 or 14, I bought a music magazine called Cream because it contained a long article about my favourite group (and a free poster I now recall having found the cover on the Internet). It was by someone called Charles Shaar Murray, a name that would have meant nothing to me at the time. The one thing that struck me about the article's style was that he was trying to be objective, something I was not really used to. You can find the article here I believe, including the bit where he says that Cosmic Dancer is "a fine song, spoilt by incongruously heavy-handed drumming by Legend". He has a point but I still find it hard to accept. (The comment about "Visconti's saccharine string writing" was lost on me then and now).

Midweek Meeting May 11, 2016

Ten of us met last night to look at just one verse from 2 Timothy 2 - verse 14. I made two points - that ministers are to remind you of certain things, which I did, and that they are to warn you against word wars. I backed up what I was saying firstly with quotations from several hymns a secondly with several anecdotes. I was quite and we got down to praying quite speedily. Most people prayed, if not all. We finished with a hymn. There were people missing sadly. Not sure why.

Lord's Day May 8, 2016

We looked at Revelation 21 in the morning all the way through to 22:5. It was a little long and I wonder if I might have split it up. It would have to be three I guess not two. Anyway wonderful subject matter and I hope a blessing to all. In the afternoon we had tea together and that was a nice relaxed time. I really enjoyed preaching in the evening on Matthew 8:5-13 as it took us into various areas including what faith in Christ is really all about. As for attendance, it was all a bit random with people missing and others there who I'm not sure how they are getting on. It is hard to keep up.

Lookalikes

Another interest of mine. My wife said that Ray Davies looks a bit like the Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce, with which I agree (though it is hard to show). The Internet I notice goes more for Pryce and the current Pope.

I gotta move

Careful readers of this blog will have noticed that a minor obsession we have is spotting the rich and famous out and about.
I try to walk over to Highgate twice a week these days and having never seen Victoria Wood about I had almost given up spotting anyone, when who should walk into the coffee shop but the legendary Ray Davies of the Kinks, who has lived in the general area all his life.
These days it's a joy just to see celebrities in their seventies still alive, of course. Then you have to decide what to do and say. I didn't think an autograph was appropriate. I didn't even think of a selfie. I said "huge fan" but even as I said it I thought to myself "depends what you mean" (I heard someone once say I think rightly that having several Bob Dylan records doesn't make you a big fan). I've only ever bought a greatest hits collection and we had All of the day and all of the night at home in single form. What I meant was that the Kinks of been part of my life all my life. I remember getting hold of an A4 ledger book as  kid and writing down all the bands I liked. The Kinks was high on that list, even though I would have known little about them.
I decided to add "Heard Victoria on the radio for some reason this morning". Again, I suppose with DAB and so many golden oldie stations that's no big deal. What I meant was that I'd heard them using a bit of it on Radio 2 for some advert or trailer. Anyway, he was very pleasant and wished me a nice day.
The encounter gave me a warm feeling for a while after.