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.

Archive 8c Princess Diana

Evil and Madness
Then think of the evil and madness surrounding Diana in life and death.
Think of the divorces that marred her life; the adulteries; the way she was photographed and turned into an ‘icon’; the way her presence could totally transform the presentation of issues.
Think of the bizarre circumstances of her death - the jet-set romance that led up to that night, the paparazzi, the excessive speed, the apparently drunken driver, the furore that has followed.
Think of the massive TV and radio coverage - and scarcely a word of biblical truth and sense.
Think of the supposedly Christian funeral that centred on the one created not on the Creator, its high point not a hymn but a secular song from an avowed homosexual, no sermon from God’s Word but a powerful scathing speech that mentioned God but once. Great is Diana taken out of the pagan stadium and into the church itself.
Think of the banishing of the National Lottery from the TV screen, hiding in a corner as it were until the coast was clear!
Think of supermarkets and sportsmen respecting the Princess but not the Prince of Glory.
Think of the madness and evil of a nation spiritually empty with a religious hierarchy so bankrupt as not to have a word of genuine comfort for the spiritually starving.

Meanwhile from ‘above the sun’ it has been made clear: After death, the judgment. Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed and the chauffeur are all either in heaven or hell. We are all headed to one or other too. In the madness and evil of this present time let’s look to the Lord and pray for mercy.

Archive 8b Princess Diana

(Regarding death)

Beauty exempts no-one
Diana was lovely and benefited from the best beauty treatments of the day. But beauty is fleeting. Beautiful or ugly, all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Fine clothes exempt no-one
It is tempting to think a person in fine clothes will never wear a shroud. Sharp dressers or slobs, all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Youth exempts no-one
She was only 36. One can die at any age. Babies die, children, teenagers .... The same destiny overtakes all.


Personality exempts no-one
Diana had personality, charisma. But it could not save her from death. Life and soul of the party or rather lacklustre, we all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Fame exempts no-one
She was the most famous woman in the world. Celebrities and nobodies die. The same destiny overtakes all.

Riches exempt no-one
Wealth could not save her either. Man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. Rich or poor, all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Power exempts no-one
Politicians failed to get land mines on to the political agenda; Diana succeeded. Yet your power cannot deliver from death. The same destiny overtakes all.


Troubles exempt no-one
Her life was certainty not without its troubles. But no matter how many troubles we face we still have to face the last enemy. The same destiny overtakes all.


Overcoming troubles to find happiness exempts no-one
She seems to have overcome many of her troubles. It is easy to get a false sense of security when that happens but only Christ has conquered death. Winners and losers in life, all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Good works exempt no-one
A great deal has been said about Diana’s compassion and concern. There is no denying her good works but they have not preserved her from death. Good works or none, all die. The same destiny overtakes all.


Religion exempts no-one
Sadly, there is no evidence that Diana knew the Lord. One of her last reported brushes with anything remotely spiritual was to consult an astrologer. Was she told what would happen? Even the true religion of faith in Christ leads to the glory of heaven by way of death. Whatever your religion you will die. The same destiny overtakes all.

Archive 8a Princess Diana

This article appeared in Grace Magazine (which I then edited) just over 10 years ago under the heading here. This is the first of three parts.

Madness, evil and death
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun. The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterwards they join the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:3
I was only 4 years old on 22 November 1963, but I remember it. It was the day President Kennedy died in Dallas. I guess my young sons will remember equally well 31 August 1997. It was the day Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris. Certainly they will remember 6 September 1997, when we walked the two streets from our door to where thousands had gathered to see the hearse containing Diana’s coffin pass. The outpouring of grief that has followed this tragic death has been unparalleled. Not even the deaths of Eva Peron, Elvis Presley or other so-called ‘icons’ have caused such widespread grief. Even Mother Teresa’s death has not been met with the same world-wide attention.
We were all stunned by the news. Sometimes God shocks us. You do not know what a day may bring forth he says. At the same time no doubt, our hearts went with compassion to the families involved and especially to the young princes, William and Harry.
But such a death also makes us stop and think. We need to consider, when God does such shocking things. Consider what God has done ... When times are bad consider (Ecc 7:13,14). There is no point in seeking to pry into God’s inscrutable providence. We cannot say, for instance, ‘If they bad not divorced, she would not be dead’. There are too many Ifs between the two events. God has not built a law into this present world that evil always leads to pain.
Death
Rather, as with every death, we call to mind God’s sovereignty in life and in death. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised (Job 1:21). Similarly it is a reminder of our own mortality. As the Preacher says All share a common destiny (Ecclesiastes 9:2). Even from the under the sun point of view, without considering the eternal dimension of heaven and hell, it is clear that everyone dies. Nothing can exempt you. The death of the princess brings this home.

Bloggy man 38


Gabrielle Why

Have I mentioned my appreciation for the music of pop chanteuse Gabrielle? Apparently she has a new single out in September (about time) using a sample from Paul Weller's Wildwood. There will also be an album (Always). See here and here.

Four candles


This news item caught my eye the other day
'Too old-fashioned' ironmongers closes down
A family-run ironmongers which had been in business for 210 years, has announced it will have to close.
When it first opened for business, King George III was on the throne, Pitt the Younger was our Prime Minister, Napoleon was in charge of the French army and Nelson had just lost his arm at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. The year was 1797.
Now 210 years on and the Thompson Brothers, the ironmongers on Bridgwater's Mount Street, has announced it will be closing.
The ironmongers was one of the best known shops in the town but the owners say they have lost too much trade to the big DIY stores which have opened nearby.
The manager, Peter Bond, who had been working there for 48 years, said the heyday for independent shops was long gone.
Earlier this year, the shop received a special commemorative Blue Plaque by the Bridgwater & District Civic Society. (See here)
I just thought it was a good excuse to look at the old Two Ronnies sketch again.

Men of Harlech?


Obituaries appeared in The Times today for the Welsh actor Ivor Emanuel (actor and singer, born November 7, 1927, died July 19, 2007, aged 79) see here and Geoffrey Nuttall (ecclesiastical historian and Nonconformist minister, born November 8, 1911, died July 24, 2007, aged 95) see here and here.

Westminster Abbey





While most people in Westminster seemed to be busy with the Mandela statue this Wednesday the group of John Owen students under Chad Van Dixhoorn's tutelage for the week headed to the Jerusalem Chamber (main scene not only of the Assemly but also earlier used by committees translating the AV) and other parts of Westminster Abbey where we were treated to a description of the Assembly and began to get some insight into how the whole thing worked. Lecturing continued later over coffee in the sunshine of St James's Park. What a good day. How good it will be when the minutes that have survived are finally out in the public domain.

video

Cinema Lectures


Yesterday was our 19th anniversary. (Penblwydd Priodas hapus mawr i ti fy nghariad i). Eleri is clear proof, it seems to me, that despite my many faults I can't be an utter disaster. She is my best asset by far. We went off to the pictures for a treat. (Yes, I am spending too much money and time in the cinema). We saw The Bourne Ultimatum. We're not great fans of action movies but we enjoyed the last one (Bourne Supremacy) and there is enough humanity in Bourne (the apparent killing machine that is Bourne is really a warm human being) to raise it above mere action. Cleverly Bourne is both the little man (hounded by the powerful machine that is the CIA) and superman (you know he's going to win in the end). Without giving too much away to find that he was all the while the great 1970s Chelsea full back David Webb was quite a plot twist, worthy of the greatest on film.

Meanwhile I've been attending the superb lectures by Chad Van Dixhoorn (centre in pic)on the Westminster Assembly. From his vast and intimate knowledge Cambridge based Canadian Chad has been sharing with us his insights into one of the greatest synods in the history of man. it's a privilege to be there. Tomorrow he's taking us down to Westminster Abbey - another treat.

PS If anyone has possibly tried to access my Benjamin Beddome or Richard Bernard blogs recently blogger have had them offline for a while (suspected of being spam blogs but wholly innocent I assure you). I haven't added to them in a while but hope to do so soon.

Barnet Bank Holiday




I was up and out fairly early this morning even though it was a bank holiday. And what should I see on the pretty deserted Finchley Road but a traffic warden booking cars parked on the single yellow line there. I pay £40 a year for the privilege of simply parking on my street. They (or was that tfL) also had £40 off me when one bank holiday I strayed into a bus lane. I have long suspected that Barnet (like others) are mainly interested in making money. Evidence like this only confirms my worst fears.
On their website they say that they do enforce parking restrictions on Bank Holidays but they also say
The council introduces various parking management measures such as parking places and waiting restrictions in order to:
ease congestion caused by inconsiderate parking
help with road safety
assist disabled users of vehicles
provide parking for specific users (such as residents, businesses, or blue badge holders)
increase the turnover of parking to help visitors, clients of businesses, and shoppers to park
provide facilities for loading and unloading
I think it is pretty obvious that none of these purposes were being served in this case.

Transformers


I meant to report on the movie that I took some of the boys to see the other day. Well, it's a real blockbuster. It takes some of the most exciting elements in modern film and somehow blends them all together in a concoction that (thanks to CGI) more or less works. Part car chase, part war, part sci-fi, part monster (with those eyes), part Bond, part disaster movie - all the different elements are packed in there. With cars and robots - what can go wrong? There are some good bits of humour too and romance (and to be honest mildly sexual elements). They even try to make it a teen movie with some swearing and an ill-judged and tasteless teenage joke. The usual Hollywood elements are there - good looking people, great sets, lots of action, pro-feminst elements, product placement, a little anti-Christian rhetoric, etc. There was also a glance at sacrificial atonement but in the dualistic world of Transformers you suddenly see how frightening that view of the universe really is. Anyway, you won't fall asleep. More here.

Sin

I saw this in Oxford Street the other day. I presume it's a night club or something. What I like is the way the gates are closed and locked and people are passing by. That's how it should be with sin.

Wedding

video

We're just back from the wedding of one of our church members, Stefan, to Rachel, in Hinckley. We headed off towards Cardiff on Thursday and dropped of four of the children off with my sister-in-law just this side of the old bridge. We then headed up to Wolvey just outside Hinckley, to Rachel's home and then on to the church for a rehearsal.
We three then headed to Abbey Farm (see
here) where a very nice bed and breakfast had been arranged for us. We then discovered I'd put a damper on things by loading the bag with our toiletries, Eleri's shoes, etc, into the car for Cardiff. We thought of driving half way to Cardiff with Eleri's brother-in-law and our kind hosts but decided an early trip into Hinckley the next day was the best option.
For the wedding itself we had perfect weather, a good meeting in a full church (see
here) and a very nice reception in the impressive Ansty Hall (see here). I married them adn preached to them. (I'll blog the sermon on my sermon site at some point). Rachel and Stefan met while studying in Durham. It was nice to meet Brian and Brenda Norton again from DPC (see here). Stefan's family are a mainstay of the church here in Childs Hill.
We headed back to Cardiff around 8 pm and made good time on a fairly scenic route. We had a late night there leaving this morning around 10 am. We dropped Rhodri in Reading around mid-day (for the Reading Festival) and had a MacDonalds before heading for London. The weather is still glorious.

And home again





I'm off to the pictures with the boys soon but there's time just to fill in on what's been happening over the last few days. I've just come home having spent much of the day down at the Dr Williams Library in Gordon Square near Euston. See here. I didn't get to do all I wanted but it was a nice time. I'm less familiar with that part of town and so it was pleasant to walk there. The rain held off mostly.
My sister Gail and her eldest have been up to visit friends in Hemel Hempstead (see here for audio sermons) including the new assistant at Hayes Town (see here), LTS man Joseph Pettitt. They also went to see Wicked in the West End and enjoyed it very much. They also enjoyed 'doing' Oxford Street. having been down to the West End for the first time in a while today it reminded me how vibrant and interesting London is. They also had fun in a Wetherspoon restaurant (I'm not sure which) where they saw a mouse. They did complain but were told in a rather blase way that the exterminator was coming the next day. Yeuughh!
The story reminded us of one of the many stories we heard on our last night in Aber when yet another minister and his wife came round. Andrew Bowden is a real raconteur and his stories had us in stitches. besides the one about the mouse we had references to Bible College veterans, an Ernest Hemingway, Hinge and Bracket, a church like the set of and Agatha Christie novel, a dialogue of the death, Mr Lah-di-dah, etc, etc. A real hoot! The night before we had visited our good friends Keith and Janice Hoare. I am preaching for Keith's induction at Herne Bay on September 1.
The final day's addresses at Aber were an excellent one from Ted Donnelly on preaching Christ and a very good and sober one from Phil Swan. I saw Phil briefly that morning and he confessed to lurking here sometimes. I'm flattered. Hi Phil if you're passing. See a full and fair report here at exiled preacher. The whole matter of how to preach is raised by the different addresses. I've been looking at Thomas Adams afresh - Puritan but no 'plain preacher' and thinking about the whole question of how much humour and story telling ought to be in our preaching. No firm conclusions.
We travelled back last Saturday and then I preached here from Titus 3 (a one off) and Psalm 4. Good to be back.

Exploding football




I've just come home as have Eleri and my middle son. He'd bought a new football (something we do this time of the year) - a Nike T90 Strike I believe. He was complaining that it had been blown up too hard then as he reached his 55th kick up the thing exploded! It does happen from time to time as the above footage suggests.

Aber Conference etc




There's been a little hiatus as my father-in-law's computer has been on the blink. It's sorted now so here's a little update on things.
Last Saturday my eldest and his uncle arrived home from the EMW camp after a real good week in Quinta, Shropshire. Shortly after that I left to return to London where I was due to preach the next day. I did the 240 mile journey in good time, allowing me to prepare some notice sheets and do some other preparations. I then did a bit of channel hopping before heading to bed.
We had a decent (30 plus) morning congregation even though so many were away, mostly on holiday. I preached from Acts 9 on Aeneas, a sermon I'd preached some years ago but freshly dusted down. It was good to be there. People appreciated my efforts in coming back. I had at least two kind invitations to lunch. What I did, after dropping off some I’d given lifts to, was to go to an elderly couple, where we had a lovely roast and good conversation. One of their sons, who is not a believer, lives with them and that brought an extra dimension to the conversation. Then after popping home for a short while I headed to another house for tea, where I and another family were kindly entertained. The teenage daughter was out for the count following her second week of camp. In the evening we were only eight (another man joined us much later). Rather than preaching a pastoral prayer I prayed for individuals. I preached on Psalm 3, as I’d done the previous week in Pembrokeshire. It was intended to encourage.
I then drove back to Aber. A rather busy M1 and a slight deviation between the M6 and Shrewsbury meant I didn’t get back until 2 am. I didn’t feel tired though. Adrenaline, I guess.
On the Monday morning I made my regular appearance introducing Geoff’s Monday morning lecture. This was the third of three messages well received messages on imputation. A large number packed Bethel Chapel to hear a fine message. That night was the first of the evening conference addresses from Derrick Adams the new minister of the Welsh speaking church here in Aber. I was on babysitting so didn’t hear it. It was brief and simple I was told and on our indebtedness to God.
Tuesday morning we had the first address from Ted Donnelly. By now we have heard three of the four messages on 1 Corinthians and they have been excellent examples of clear, relevant, winsome, well grounded, exposition. The recordings are well worth tracking down.
On Tuesday night Andy Christophides preached and last night evangelist Roger Carswell. Tonight it's James Muldoon (Reading) but I'm at home again. Both AC and RC used a lot of humour and were very lively - not to everyone's taste. One could easily point to problems with what they preached especially AC. However, overall the gospel was preached with some passion and some power and I for one was glad to hear such messages. My eldest son has a friend from school with him this week who came as an unbeliever. She has certainly benefited from all the messages.
The weather has been fair to middling. Signing on for five years was very straightforward and I spent a very pleasant Tuesday afternoon in the National Library (see here) reading through books needed for these lectures on the Westminster Assembly coming up. The pin-drop silence was lovely. When I went to the cafe later I bumped into a librarian who belongs to my father-in-law's church and we had a nice chat about books and things.
Meeting acquaintances old and new is part of the experience here (Greetings to fellow bloggers). We are planning to meet up with old friends later tonight in their digs. These last three evenings different ministers and their wives have been here at the manse (all Presbyterians it suddenly occurs to me - from Tasmania, Cardiff and N Ireland [ie the Donnellys]). You also meet people before and after the meetings and just around town. Talking through the messages with friends and family here is a great joy. I'm sure we don't talk about sermons enough. What a blessing to be here.

John Owen Centre Lectures

Someone out there may be interested to know that on August 27–31 there will be a series of lectures at the John Owen Centre in Finchley on The History and Theology of the Westminster Assembly. The course will provide an overview of the Assembly's work and an examination of some of the Assembly's major debates in systematic and practical theology. The lecturer will be the man who must be the leading expert on the subject today Chad Van Dixhoorn BA MDiv ThM PhD (Research Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge, British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge. Visiting Professor of Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary, California; BA in philosophy University of Western Ontario; MDiv and ThM Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD University of Cambridge.) The course will meet daily from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm with lunch provided. It is in conjunction with the MTh course they run.
The only snag is that it will cost you an arm and a leg. At least think about it. More here.

Evangelical Library

You may find this link drawing attention to the Evangelical Library of interest.

John Herring

Back at the museum I saw a picture of Christmas Evans and one John Herring. All I can find about Herring, who was apparently a friend of Evans', is this -
HERRING, JOHN (1789-1832), Baptist minister; b. in the parish of Trallwng, Brecknock, 8 Feb. 1789, but brought up in the adjoining parish of Llan[y]spyddyd. The family became somewhat poor after the death of the boy's father in 1793 but the position was improved when he had a step-father in 1800 and the family moved to Pen-y-cae, Mon. He was baptised at Tredegar in 1804, and began to preach in 1805. At some point he studied in Bristol Baptist College but only for a short while.
He settled in Bethania, Cardigan, 1811, and it was there he d., 2 April 1832. Christmas Evans said that Herring had more of the attributes of a great preacher than anyone else in Wales. He was chairman of the south-west Wales Baptist Association, 1831-2, and the writer of the letter to the churches on ‘the state of religion in our midst’; he also edited Greal y Bedyddwyr.
I have found references to him as 'the celebrated'.

Aber life




Continuing to enjoy myself here in Aberystwyth. Thursday was very sunny but today has proved cooler and it may yet rain. The household was swollen a little more yesterday with the arrival of my other (6 months pregnant) sister-in-law with her husband, who had to head back to Wiltshire early today.
Several went yesterday afternoon to the production of the musical West-side Story here in Aber (directed by Michael Bogdanov). I’m not a fan of musicals so I decided to duck out. This particular musical (now 50 years old) has recently captured my sons’ imagination. Dylan was introduced to it in school and then found a DVD of it in the house (I’d bought it the other Christmas for Eleri who likes musicals). They just loved it and can sing ‘When you’re a jet …’ with the best of them. They all really enjoyed the production.
Then tonight we went down to the south pier and did some crancota (crab-fishing), although with little success. It’s a regular activity here in Aber. It was a beautiful evening with everyone out, including a group of canoeists and some orthodox Jews from a party we see in Aber every summer (coming from Golders Green it’s home from home for some of us).
With the men pretty absent (Glyn and Rhodri on camp, Ian now back in Wiltshire, Keith in Iraq, Geoff in the study) I didn’t join the women and children in the playground in Nant Yr Arian this morning or the Pwll Nofio (swimming pool) this afternoon. Instead I’ve been reading Warfield on the Westminster Assembly and its work for a series of lectures I’m hoping to attend soon. I also came across a cheap CD of Bacharach and David songs in a charity shop, which was good serendipity, having just finished the Bacharach biography.
Being in Aber is a real joy. I first came here as a student and by now it’s like a second home to me. I like many things about it – its compactness, its shops, the sea, etc. May be if I lived here my Welsh would be better. This year I’ve noticed a new phrase ‘Y fangre hon’ everywhere (these premises) owing to the new legislation on smoking. I also spotted ‘Marchnas Deg’ (Fair trade) something I’d not seen before.
Tonight we watched the chairing of the new bard on TV (a minister who has also written for a soap opera - only in Wales). I enjoyed responding saying 'heddwch' (peace) again - it reminded me of school days and shouting it rather raucously. Then before the kids went off to bed we played their favourite silly game - consequences. Mae'n hwyl.

The loss of gold

Back in the museum I remember seeing these words on some china bowl or something. (In some examples the word 'time' is replaced by the word 'health').

"The loss of gold is great
The loss of time is more
But losing Christ is such a loss
As no man can restore"

Museum Cinema




Most of the family have been out today at the national eisteddfod in Mold (see here) but I stayed behind with the two middle boys and my father-in-law who was working on his sermons for Sunday. We three spent the morning in the museum (see here). It's very good. I especially liked the little religious section with pictures and memorabilia of Rowland, Elias, Spurgeon, etc. There was also a nice temporary exhibition of early 19th Century beach photographs. (The museum is better than the one in Newport).
In the afternoon we went to see the Simpsons Movie (see here). We were in two minds about this although in the end it turned out to be a not too offensive gag movie. It was quite funny, although I did nod of once or twice. A movie like this has no room for character development and the surreal approach means the plot lacks tension. The scene where the people rush from the bar to the church in a crisis and a vice versa was well observed though I did not quite appreciate the swipe at intelligent design. I think it is a mistake to try and analyse it too much. The boys enjoyed it.
On such a sunny day it was good to be out in the sun some of the time too. Any way they're arriving back from Mold must dash.

Aberystwyth Everton




I’m not a great football fan but my boys are and when we heard Aberystwyth were playing Everton in a pre-season friendly, we thought we’d like to go. So three of my sons and their cousin joined the 1561 watching the game against Everton’s reserves on a sunny but slightly chilly evening. There was a nice enough atmosphere in the tiny ground. Vocal support was limited. (I found it difficult to distinguish shouts of 'Aber town' and 'Everton').
We got there quite early and positioned ourselves directly behind the goal where, it turned out, the games two goals were scored. There were no well known players on show but the boys told me the goalkeeper was at the Aber conference last year and belongs to an evangelical church in Newtown.
The two young sides played fairly uninspiringly but an early goal for Aber in the fourth minute put Everton on the back foot for much of the game. In the first half Aber were easily the better side but in the second half Everton’s professionalism began to show and they slowly came back into it, managing to equalise shortly before the end. So 1-1 - probably just about fair.

Rural Wales





We’re having a nice time here in Wales. On Saturday we left early for Tywyn in West Wales where our middle two have been on their week’s camp. It was nice to see them and other parents we know picking up their kids. I also saw my niece Charlie briefly. The boys had a fine time getting to the top of Cader Idris, bivouacking, going to a climbing centre, hearing Gwynne Evans on Paul, etc.
From Tywyn we headed through the rain via Tal Y Llyn deep into the Welsh heartlands and to the home where Eleri’s brother-in-law Glyn was brought up in Llanfair Caereinion. Glyn and family were at his parents briefly before he headed off to lead an EMW camp over in Quinta. Rhodri, my eldest, joined him for the trip and we trust they are having a good time.
Meanwhile back here in Aber we realised that we hadn’t collected everything from the Tywyn Camp and so Eleri and Dylan made another round trip while I did laundry duty. By the time they returned, Fflur and the three children were here and had gone with our two youngest down to the front. There was a rock concert at the castle which we could here up in the manse – it didn’t sound too hot.
On the Sunday we headed south in sunshine, first thing, via Cardigan, for Clarbeston Road, Pembrokeshire, where I was due to preach at Bethany Free Church. I first attended the church when I used to come to church camps down in Amroth as a boy. I have preached on one or two occasions before. (One of the elders, a SASRA reader, and his wife, reminded me that I had previously preached 11 years ago when their 11 year old son had just been killed in traffic accident.) Bethany is not large but with some holiday visitors the place was pretty full. Among those present were David Norman and Ruth Jones who have been labouring in Tasmania for many years now. Formerly a minister in the Grove, Camberwell, David is from the area and had come to see his mother during statutory long service leave from his church. He said he’s just bought my book on Proverbs, which was good to know.
I preached on Psalm 3 in the morning (a new sermon) and fell back on an old sermon on Dorcas from Acts 9 in the evening. Doing a new sermon in a new place made me a little hesitant in places sadly. The morning meeting was followed by communion. I didn’t have a Bible with me and the pulpit AV was too big to carry down to the table and so I gave Paul’s words in the NIV from memory. I’ve learned them simply by dint of repeating them twice a month for over 20 years.
The church would gladly have given us hospitality but we took opportunity to visit our friends Ian and Hanna just down the road in Haverford West. My former assistant Ian was recently inducted as an evangelist in Hill Park Baptist. It was lovely to seem them and their little boy Filip (who our boys just love) again in their new house in Baring-Gould Way. We had good fellowship Sunday afternoon and evening and on Monday morning as they very kindly put all six of us up, by retreating to a futon in their front room.
We wanted to do something nice on the way back to Aber and Hanna put us on to the Pemberton Chocolate farm, deep in the real wilds of Pembrokeshire, near a place called Llanboidy. Once more I have been impressed with the greenness and the beauty of the vast Welsh countryside as we passed through places I had mostly never heard of. The chocolate farm is a small business that took over old farm buildings around 30 years ago and has been set up in such a way that you can see something of the luxury chocolate making business firsthand. A young man called Rhodri (there’s a nice name) introduced the whole thing and then we walked through a sort of window lined tunnel observing the work going on as a CD commentary accompanied us. My favourite fact was that chocolate is the only substance that stays solid at room temperature but liquid at body temperature – hence that wonderful melting feeling. We were rewarded with a chocolate to dip at the end of the tour. We also watched an interesting film about chocolate making, viewed the few other things on show there and (as they hoped I guess) spent ₤15 on chocolate gifts (plus more on fudge and sweets). So not amazing, but a nice morning, helped by the fact the weather just about held. More here.
En route home we popped into Aberaeron for chips and an ice cream and were back in Aber by around 3.30 pm. Most then went to the beach, while I had a wander, reading and enjoying a coffee before food later on. Ah, easy days!

Aberystwyth


We've headed up to Aber. Problems on the M4 meant that we came via Gloucester and Ross on Wye. It all seems to be drying up lovely now. We called in to Cwmbran to see my dad and niece. Sunshine all the way. Today we went over to see Eleri's cousin and her five children, over from America. Her USAF husband is serving in Iraq at present.
My parents-in-law are out all day - Geoff visiting a man on day release from prison and Iola at the funeral of her former pastor Elwyn Davies, a man used by God in the establishment of the EMW. Below is a notice I found posted on Alan Davey's blog last Monday.

It is with sadness and a sense of loss that the Evangelical Movement of Wales announce the death of the Revd. J Elwyn Davies after a long illness. He was one of the chief founders of the Movement, leading the work as its General Secretary for over thirty years.Following the Second World War a number of Welsh men and women – some of them students – were converted. This group of new converts from all over Wales came together. Meetings, missions and retreats were organized, with Revd J Elwyn Davies taking a leading role. All the activity testified to their evangelical faith, rooted in personal experience and a sure belief in theefficacy of Christ's death. Unknown to Elwyn and his fellow believers, the foundations of the Evangelical Movement of Wales were being formed, with evangelical Welsh Christians, old and new, coming together across traditional denominational barriers.Over the next months the Cylchgrawn Efengylaidd (Evangelical Magazine) was established and Elwyn and his friends became known as 'Pobl y Cylchgrawn' (The Magazine People). With the blessing they were experiencing came not just enthusiasm but also a more formal structure, and in 1955 Elwyn Davies was appointed as the General Secretary of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.With other members of staff appointed from 1956 onwards, the work grew with the publication of an English language periodical, The Evangelical Magazine of Wales. While he was General Secretary, Elwyn saw the formation of the AECW which sought to link together evangelical churches in Wales. From being a Welsh language work the Movement grew to become a bilingual organisation, arranging camps and publishing literature. Elwyn Davies was also instrumental in assisting dozens of ministers and religious leaders in Wales and beyond. By his preaching, his personal conversations and gentle character he became a friend, a teacher and mentor to numerous people. His particular burden was to see God's people sharing and being united in the traditional Biblical faith of Wales.
He laboured tirelessly during his long lifetime, emphasising that Wales – which he loved dearly – had its unique spiritual features and needs. In his preaching, teaching the Bible, or writing a pamphlet or booklet that love for Wales was always to be seen. He worked without ceasing for God and for Wales. His great desire was that the country he loved so dearly would be reconciled to the Christ whom he loved even more.He accomplished so much during his lifetime. He was a Congregational minister in Blaenau Ffestiniog (1950–55), and worked for the IVF (UCCF) between 1955 and 1962, a part time minister at Seion, Cwmafan at a later date, the President of the British Evangelical Council (1969–72) and a part time minister of an English Evangelical Church (now known as Free School Court) in Bridgend. All of this and more whilst heading the work of the Evangelical Movement of Wales (1955–1990), and finding time to minister for short periods in Australia and Patagonia.
Elwyn was ably assisted by his wife, Mair Humphreys, whom he married in 1951. They complemented each other perfectly, and they were glad to be able to spend more time together when he retired as General Secretary in 1990. During these last years of weakness Elwyn relied heavily on Mair's support and that of the extended family. We extend our deepest sympathy to her and the six children and their families. We thank God for the hope of the Gospel which speaks of a heavenly home 'not made with hands', and thank God that Elwyn has reached that home.

Biblical cruiser


We saw this car on the road at a Texaco garage in Wales yesterday. I don't know whose it is - a prog rock fan, a creationist? (I like that joke - do you believe in Genesis? No, I don't even like Phil Collins). I love the design of the PT Cruiser and would love to have one. Having seen this - I want this very one.

EL Lunchtime Lectures

We have arranged three further lunchtime lectures at the Evangelical Library in London.
These begin at 12.30 pm and are as follows:

Sep 17 Doug McMasters (Tooting) on C H Spurgeon - The work of planting churches

Oct 15 Bruce Jenkins (Caversham) on John Newton - Dispelling some myths

Nov 19 Gary Brady (Childs Hill) on Daniel Wilson - An introduction to his life

To be held in the Robert Sheehan Puritan Room & Research Centre at:
The Evangelical Library, 78a Chiltern Street, London, W1U 5HB (200 yds from Baker St tube).
For further information ring Steve Taylor on 020 7935 6997 or email:
enquiries@elib.org.uk

Aber 07

We hope to be at the EMW Aberystwyth Conference 11-18 August. The main speaker is Ted Donnelly from Northern Ireland, speaking on the subjects above. See here. The EMW site is here.