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.

Lord's Day February 20 2017


Yesterday was a busy day and there were lots of people about. Unusually we had both lunch together (held over from its usual slot the previous week) and evening communion. Over 40 came to the meal. The morning congregation was quite full. Two of my sons were home with their brides (one is married, one is marrying in the summer). One of our members was back from a few months in Jamaica. There was another new Iranian (plus three others from Iran). Most of our other newbies were there (although one has written to me since explaining that she probably won't be settling with us). It was interesting to hear from my visiting sons of the new people they had been talking to.
Yesterday was the beginning of the seminary placements here so I got our Dutch student and Our South African one to read the Scriptures for us (from 1 Samuel and Exodus). Alexander also gave us a slide presentation on the religious situation in the Netherlands after our lunch together. In the evening an interesting Dutch lady came. She grew up going to church but has not been for years. She is now reading the Bible and attending church (she had 'phoned here beforehand to be sure of the time). Her English was fine (I gave her an English Bible as she said her Dutch translation was too paraphrastic) but she was glad to be able to talk in Dutch with Alexander's wife.
I began a new series from Acts in the morning. I have never preached through Acts. It is the only New testament book I have not touched. It was an okay start. In the evening we looked at the next bit in Matthew 12 (38-42). I started back on the children's catechism with the kids.
So there's a little bit of a buzz at the moment, which is good. 

Eyedentification

I thought of this word today and found this illustration to go with it

Preaching at the seminary


One of the delights of being where I am is the proximity of London Seminary. It is a privilege to serve on the board and to benefit from meetings there and at the John Owen Centre from time to time. I also get to preach there too from time to time. I was there again yesterday, just ahead of the students heading out for their three week placements, as the member of staff due to preach is recovering from a  recent bicycle tumble. I was conscious that two of the students would have heard most of my material since last October and so I delved into the back catalogue and reworked a sermon from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 on avoiding spiritual immaturity and having a proper attitude to preachers. It went okay I thought and I enjoyed speaking with students over lunch afterwards. You can check out the sermon here on my Preached Sermons blog.
(PS the picture is from last summer not from yesterday)

Midweek Meeting Wednesday February 15 2017

So we had a good turn out on Wednesday as we continue through Leviticus - this time looking at the peace or fellowship offering in Chapter 3. Our two new people returned and there plenty of others. We again had a short question time after the study itself. The prayer time went well too as we endeavoured to pray about various matters large and small, near and far. I had never really considered the fact that though Jews are not to drink blood we drink wine, symbolic of Christ's blood, at the communion.

10 Aptonyms

1. Usain Bolt Jamaican sprinter
2. Igor Judge, Baron Judge Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales 2008-2013
3. Scott Speed former US Race car driver
4. Walter Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain British Author and former neurologist
5. Marina Stepanova former Soviet athlete, the first woman to run under 53 seconds in the 400 metres hurdles
6. Vania Stambolova Bulgarian athlete, medal winner in the 400 m hurdles
7. Mark De Man Belgian Footballer who currently plays for Stade Bierbeek. He is most often deployed as a defensive midfielder but has also been used at centre back or right full back. He has been a regular player at Anderlecht and Belgium
8. Sara Blizzard UK Local Weather Presenter
9. Colin Bass English musician, record producer and songwriter, bass player with prog rock band Camel
10. Jules Angst Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Zurich University in Zurich, Switzerland

Lord's Day February 12 2017

It's half term here and people were away in droves (some not well too). By the evening we were down to 10 (and two of those were people who hadn't got up for the 11 am service I think). One couple were with their little boy having an emergency op so I made a point of praying for that family early on. There were plenty of people early on - 2 or 3 Iranians (plenty missing though), a full compliment of Filipinos (6), a sprinkling of Nigerians (6), again a few missing). A trio looking for a permanent home arrived again. It was good to see them but that may mean there isn't a good Reformed church between here and Wembley (maybe we're wrong - let me know!).
I preached my closing sermon on Galatians (number 15) which was a whistle stop tour of some major themes here (the cross, grace, so-called replacement theology, etc) in the morning. The unaccompanied singing was okay although it was the first hymn so we took a little while. In the evening I thought about dropping something (a reading or a hymn) as we were so few but I pressed on. The sermon was not long.
My wife was away and it was just me and the boys. Doesn't quite feel right somehow.

16-21 Wales pipped by clinical England

Wales played well but when pressure does not produce points it is of no use.

10 Four Letter Country Names

1. Iran
2. Iraq
3. Chad
4. Cuba
5. Mali
6. Togo
7. Fiji
8. Peru
9. Oman
10. Laos

Midweek Meeting February 8 2017

There were 12 of us on Wednesday including two new people. We pressed on with Leviticus and people were stimulated by it with several questions at the end. We also had a brief but fluent time of prayer with almost everyone praying. Very encouraging. Someone suggested there may be economic gradations in Chapter 2 as in Chapter 1. I checked it with Philip Eveson, whose commentary I am using. He was not keen on the idea.

10 Smallest countries

With size in sq kms
1. Vatican City 0.4
2. Monaco 2
3. Nauru 21
4. Tuvalu 26
5. San Marino 61
6. Liechtenstein 160
7. St Kitts and Nevis 261
8. Maldives 298
9. Malta 316
10. Grenada 344

10 oldest countries in the world

This is highly debatable I suppose but here's a stab.
1. Egypt 3,150 – 3,500 BC King Menes started this country and also started a reign of pharaohs that ruled the country for over three thousand years. The great Pyramids and the Sphinx remain as testament to this country’s ancient history.
2. India 3,000 BC This country was established by a civilization that started in the Indus valley and has since expanded to be today, the seventh biggest by area and the second biggest by population. In its history, India has given the world calculus and other mathematical formulae.
3. Ethiopia 2,500 – 3,000 BC This country is famous for its wilderness but evidence shows from ancient Egyptian texts, that it was one of its biggest trading partners and actually names the country. 
4. China 2,100 – 1,600 BC It is believed that the Xia Dynasty was the first in China as there is no evidence of an earlier one. Some of this country’s history can be seen by a visit to The Great Wall of China or The Forbidden City in Beijing.
5. Iran 625 – 559 BC This country that would later become the birth place of the Persian Empire was started by the unification of the local tribes by Medes. Some historical sites are Qom and Persepolis.
6. San Marino 301 AD This city state may be one of the smallest countries in the world but that does not mean that it is not also one of the oldest. It was established by St Marinus who settled there to avoid persecution. Some of itshistory can be witnessed by looking at the old Walls of San Marino.
7. France 486 AD There are many historical sites in this country which has had such an influence on the rest of Europe. It was first established by a unification made by Clovis the first king of France.
8. Bulgaria 632 AD The first Bulgarian Empire was established with Pliska as its capital by Asparukh. Some of its historical sites include the Rila monastery and the Kazanuk Tomb. It has more recently been linked with the invention of the first electrical computer. 
9. Japan 660 AD The Japanese nation is said to have been started by its first Emperor, Jimmu. The country is rich in history and perhaps the best place to witness some of that history is at Himeji Castle.
10. Turkey 900 AD This country was established on the sight of the Trojan War by the Seljuk dynasty of Turks as they migrated and later became the birth place of the Ottoman Empire.

(Greece is not here because it was split between Macedonia and Greek city states. Hungary adn Armenia are sometimes listed.)

10 newest countries in the world

1. South Sudan: On July 9, 2011, after ending the war against the Arabic northern part of Sudan in Africa, the southern part declared its independence. The country is currently in turmoil as a civil war has instigated a large-scale famine and displaced around 10% of the total population.
2. Kosovo: Kosovo has long been a troubled territory at the southern end of Serbia. The United Nations has been administering the country since 1990 after the then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic called the army back from Kosovo. The country declared its independence on February 17, 2008.
3/4. Serbia and Montenegro: Till 2006, the two countries were part of a union and were called Serbia-Montenegro. But Montenegro decided to end its ties with Serbia and declared its independence on May 21, 2006. The country's economic and political states have been stable and prosperous so far .
5. East Timor: East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, was once a small part of Indonesia. The island, which is south of the Banda Sea, declared its independence on May 20, 2002. Due to its huge oil reserve, the country has seen large-scale development and has been acknowledged by the World Bank as a rapidly progressing country.
6. Palau: Language became a barrier for Palau stopping otfrom being a part of the larger Micronesia. The cultural difference among other Micronesian states and Palau was so great that it decided to become an independent country from October 1, 1994. Palau comprises 250 small islands and is known for its tourism.
7. Eritrea: Just over 6 million people live in this small country north of Ethiopia in Africa. Eritrea was declared as an autonomous region under the Ethiopian federation in 1952. However, the Ethiopian government continued to treat it as a dependent part. This triggered a 30-year-long civil war. On April 27, 1993, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front toppled the Ethiopian forces and declared the country's independence
8/9. Czech Republic and Slovakia: People of both the countries welcomed the year 1993 in a unique way. On January 1 that year, the parliament of Czechoslovakia divided the country into two parts. Both the countries have flourished economically after the "Velvet Divorce", a term for the split as it happened "smoothly" after the Velvet Revolution dissolved Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia got introduced to the world as independent nations when Yugoslavia was dissolved in 1992.
10. Micronesia: Previously known as the Caroline Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia is a nation north of Australia, which comprises thousands of small islands. Until September 17, 1991, the archipelago or group of islands was administered by the United States. Fishing is the primary livelihood of the nation.

10 facts about colour blindness

1. It is much more common among men. It affects 1 in every 12 males worldwide but less than 1 in every 200 females.
2. Facebook is blue because its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, suffers from red-green colour blindness.
3. Some 99% of all colourblind people are not really colour blind but colour deficient; the term colour blindness is misleading.
4. Colour blindness is hereditary, and is passed from mother to son on the 23rd chromosome. However, it can also be caused by eye diseases, ageing or retina damage. If a woman is red-green colourblind, all her sons will also be colourblind.
5. A fatal railway accident in Sweden in 1875 that killed nine people was believed to have been caused by a colour blind rail operator who failed to properly read a signal. After the crash, a method to test colour vision was developed and applied to railway workers.
6. In Romania and Turkey it is illegal for colour blind people to hold a driver’s licence. This arose froma  fear that colour blind drivers would be unable to read traffic signals.
7. In World War II, colour blind men were considered to have an advantage since their inability to see green helped them to see through camouflage. Today, the military will not allow people to serve if they are colour blind.
8. Dogs, cats and rabbits see mostly grey. Monkeys have strong colour vision while bees and butterflies have superior vision and can see colours humans are unable to see.
9. Some few people suffer from a rare form of colour blindness called unilateral dichromacy which means they have one normal seeing eye, and one colour blind eye.
10. People who suffer from red green colour blindness have a difficult time determining if their meat is cooked enough. Without being able to see different shades of red, it is hard to tell.

(PS John Dalton wrote the first known scientific paper regarding colour blindness. He himself was colour blind).