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.

Christian Acrostics 09 JOY

Slightly different this one but it is famous

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

How about Jesus Obeyed - Yahoo!

Words often misspelled 04

Separate

I saw a report somewhere recently from 2010 that said that a study had found that "the word 'separate' is the most commonly misspelled one in the English language. The eight-letter description of people or objects which are set apart from each other came top due to the regular placing of an 'E' where the first 'A' sits. I am excellent at spelling but I do remember getting this wrong once.
A spokesman for OnePoll.com, which carried out the study among 3,500 Brits, said: "There seem to be some words which we always struggle to get down onto paper, and 'separate' is one of those which eludes us. A common mistake many make is writing a word the way it sounds which leaves us muddling up one letter with another and getting it wrong. Fortunately, computers' spell-check corrects wrongly spelt words for us, but that means we become lazy and never learn the correct spelling."

Akkerman at the Stables

Out at The Stables Milton Keynes last night to see Jan Akkerman and his band put in a sterling performance. I thought we'd get more of the new album but although he began with three numbers from it (Freewheelin', Minor Details and Blind baby - ie blues, jazz, bluies) and opened the second half with the superb Mena Muria (the Moluccan anthem) it was mostly the old stuff that we got and that was probably wisely judged.
So in the first half we had a curious version of the Zebra, a realtively short version of Tranquiliser and the well loved Paul Weller number You do something to me. The second half was pretty much given over to old Focus numbers - Answers Questions, Focus 2 (superb), Anonymous and a long version of Tommy, finishing off with the obligatory Hocus Pocus (still able to squeeze new life out of that somehow) and Sylvia. For the encore we had fine versions of Streetwalker and Pietons.
There is something slightly sterile about the Stables venue but this highly competent performance won through and certainly left the audience of around 250 very pleased. Copies of the new CD were available and, as you can see, the big man was obliging with his autograph. He was in hospital with a stroke recently and has finally given up tobacco after many warnings. Hopefully that will keep him perfroming into his seventies.

Christian Acrostics 06 HOPE

Heavenly
Optimistic
Peacegiving
Expectation

Christian Acrostics 05 JESUS

Justifying
Elect
Sinners,
Unchanging
Saviour

Words often misspelled 03

Playwright

It is so tempting to put playwrite but while a good pun it is a misspelling.
The word is like millwright or cartwright. The play is wrought by the writer.

Kenya Animal Pics 05

I spotted this tortoise coming along the path to the Underhills house
one day last week. When I was growing up we had a tortoise called Eric.

Kenya Animal Pics 04


This is the chicken that was given to us as a gift  from the people in Kima


Kenya Animal Pics 03

I didn't go to Kenya to see wildlife but it was great to see this giraffe in the wild,
part of a herd of six just off the Mombasa Road one day.

Kenya Animal Pics 02

Goats not far from the church in Nairobi

Kenya Animal Pics 01

This owl was noticed perching at the back of the church
in Nairobi the day I arrived. Is it an eagle owl?

Iain Murray bibliography

I had meant to draw attention to the fact that Iain H Murray has now reached his eightieth birthday but I have been away and it slipped my mind. I understand that he was appropriately honoured at the Banner. He is a fine author and has produced at least 20 or 30 excellent books and booklets. Wikipedia lists some 26 of them (see below)
Word has it that his most recent works are a biography of the 19th century preacher Archibald Brown and (due out in late May early June) a biography of John MacArthur John MacArthur Servant of the Word and Flock. They both sound very interesting.

The Invitation System (1960) ISBN 0-85151-171-6 [booklet] 
The Reformation Of The Church: a collection of Reformed and Puritan documents on Church issues (1965) ISBN 0-85151-118-X (pbk)
The Forgotten Spurgeon (1966) ISBN 0-85151-156-2
Spurgeon and the Church of England (1966) [booklet]
The Puritan Hope: Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (1971) ISBN 0-85151-247-X (pbk)
The happy man: the abiding witness of Lachlan Mackenzie, editor (1979) ISBN 0-85151-282-8
Diary Of Kenneth MacRae: a record of fifty years in the Christian ministry (1980) ISBN 0-85151-297-6
D Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years (1982) ISBN 0-85151-353-0
The Life of John Murray: Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937-1966 (1984) ISBN 0-85151-422-7, ISBN 0-85151-426-X
Australian Christian Life from 1788: an introduction and an anthology (1988) ISBN 0-85151-524-X
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (1988) ISBN 0-85151-494-4
D Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith (1990) ISBN 0-85151-564-9
Letters Of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1992) ISBN 0-85151-606-8
Revival & Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858 (1994) ISBN 0-85151-660-2
Spurgeon v Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching (1995) ISBN 0-85151-692-0 (pbk)
Pentecost today?: The Biblical Basis for Understanding Revival (1998) ISBN 0-85151-752-8
Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950-2000, (2000), ISBN 0-85151-783-8
The Psalter: the only hymnal of the church? (2001) ISBN 0-85151-809-5 [booklet]
The Unresolved Controversy: unity with non-Evangelicals (2001) ISBN 0-85151-810-9 [booklet]
Wesley and Men Who Followed (2003) ISBN 0-85151-835-4
The Life of Arthur W Pink (2004) ISBN 0-85151-883-4
Old Evangelicalism – Old Truths for a New Awakening (2005) ISBN 0-85151-901-6
A Scottish Christian Heritage (2006) ISBN 0-85151-930-X
Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace (2008) ISBN 0-85151-975-X
The cross: the pulpit of God's love (2008) ISBN 0-85151-974-1 [booklet]The Undercover Revolution: how fiction changed Britain (2009) ISBN -13:978 1 84871 012 2

A Day's March Nearer Home: Autobiography of J Graham Miller, editor (2010) ISBN 184871064X

Christian Acrostics 04 GRACE

God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense

Wesley on Easter

This is another Wesley hymn for Easter

All ye that seek the Lord who died,
Your God for sinners crucified,
Before the earliest dawn, now come
To worship at His sacred tomb.

Bring the sweet spices of your sighs,
Your contrite hearts, and streaming eyes,
Your sad complaints, and humble fears;
Come, and embalm Him with your tears.

While thus ye love your souls to employ,
Your sorrow shall be turn'd to joy:
Now, now let all your grief be o'er!
Believe; and ye shall weep no more.

An earthquake hath the cavern shook,
And burst the door, and rent the rock;
The Lord hath sent His angel down,
And he hath roll'd away the stone.

Easter Hymns

We sang nine of the 20 Easter hymns in the new Christian Hymns yesterday. Some (especially the modern ones we don't know). It struck me again how far superior Charles Weslety is to them all. it's hard to beat words such as

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Hallelujah!
Sons of men and angels say, Hallelujah!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Hallelujah!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Hallelujah!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Hallelujah!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Hallelujah!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Hallelujah!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Hallelujah!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Hallelujah!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Hallelujah!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Hallelujah!
Christ hath opened paradise, Hallelujah!

Lives again our glorious King, Hallelujah!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Hallelujah!
Once He died our souls to save, Hallelujah!
Where thy victory, O grave? Hallelujah!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Hallelujah!
Following our exalted Head, Hallelujah!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Hallelujah!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Hallelujah!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Hallelujah!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Hallelujah!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Hallelujah!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Hallelujah!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Hallelujah!
Everlasting life is this, Hallelujah!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Hallelujah!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Hallelujah!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Hallelujah!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Hallelujah!
Who endured the cross and grave, Hallelujah!
Sinners to redeem and save. Hallelujah!

But the pains that He endured, Hallelujah!
Our salvation have procured, Hallelujah!
Now above the sky He’s King, Hallelujah!
Where the angels ever sing. Hallelujah!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Hallelujah!
Our triumphant holy day, Hallelujah!
Who did once upon the cross, Hallelujah!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Hallelujah!

This is Wesley's most famous resurrection hymn. There are at least 15 others.

Sioe Crafwr


For some reason the boys have recently noticed a piece of film on Youtube some years back featuring two of them from some years ago.
Look out for Gwion at around 24" and a great face from Dewi around 44". 

Words often misspelled 02

Millennial

People may have little trouble with biennial or triennial or even centennial but once you get up to a thousand then millennial can defeat them. I once saw (around 2000) a "Millenium Dictionary" (sic). The spelling was wrong on the cover (in the way given) but okay inside.

Christian Acrostics 03 REPENT

Renounce
Evil
Practices,
Excusing
None, and
Turn

Christian Acrostics 02 FAITH

Faith can be written as an acrostic:

Forsaking
All
I
Take
Him (ie Christ)

Words often misspelled 01

Accommodation
Remember, this word is large enough to accommodate both a double "c" and a double "m."

Christian Acrostics 01 COME

When the word "come" appears in the Bible it often appeals to all sorts of people:

Children
Older ones
Middle Aged
Everyone!

Dandelions

Loads of dandelions in England this year

Weekly Hymn

I can't remember when we last had a weekly hymn but in Kenya this hymn by Jane Crewdson caught my eye:

Lord, we know that Thou art near us,
Though Thou seem’st to hide Thy face;
And are sure that Thou dost hear us,
Though no answer we embrace.

Not one promise shall miscarry
Not one blessing come too late
Though the vision long may tarry
Give us patience, Lord to wait.

While withholding—Thou art giving
In Thine own appointed way
And while waiting we’re receiving
Blessings suited to our day.

O the wondrous loving-kindness
Planning, working out of sight,
Bearing with us in our blindness,
Out of darkness bringing light.

Weaving blessings out of trials,
Out of grief evolving bliss;
Answering prayer by wise denials
When Thy children ask amiss.

And when faith shall end in vision,
And when prayer is lost in praise,
Then shall love, in full fruition,
Justify Thy secret ways.

According to Wikipedia Crewdson lived 1808-1863 and was a poet born in Perran-arworthal, Cornwall. She was the second daughter of one George Fox. She was married at Exeter, in October 1836, to Thomas Dillworth Crewdson, a Manchester manufacturer. She contributed several hymns to Lovell Squire's Selection of Scriptural Poetry, 1848; and in 1851 published a small volume of poems, entitled Aunt Jane's Verses for Children, which was twice reprinted (1855, 1871). In 1860 she issued a second work, Lays of the Reformation, and other Lyrics, scriptural and Miscellaneous. After her death at Summerlands, Whalley Range, Manchester, a further selection of her poetical pieces was published under the title of A Little While and other Poems (Manchester, 1864). (The cyberhymnal lists 13 of her hymns with words available to several).

Royal Wedding

This has appeared in our street. Are you having a party next week?

Kenya and the outside world

President Obama is, of course, famously linked with Kenya. The name Obama has become very popular there though I met none with the name. i saw an advert for Kenyan TV's broadcast of the royal wedding next week with the tag line "it started in Kenya". William evidently proposed in Kenya.

Kenyan weather and food

It was quite hot in Kenya, of course. The heat is dry, however, not too humid and there is always a breeze from the east so not bad really (the terrain is Savannah grassland).
The staple meal is rice (wali) with beans but we also often had meat. Ugali is a stodgy fairly tasteless mix of maize flour and water. There are plenty of bananas, mangoes and avocados. I had chappatis quite often. They love their chai (usually made all in one with milk and sugar). I had mandaazi once (unsweetened doughnuts). I was also given fried goat liver with fried intestines (matumbo ya mbuzi) in one place. Quite tasty. I ate well.

Kenyan Language

Kenya's national languages are English and Kiswahili, which are widely spoken. Kiswahili is a trade language and a mix mainly of Arabic and Bantu. The name literally means coastal language as that is where it began.
There are over 60 other languages spoken. Anyone who has seen The Lion King knows the Swahili words Simba and Hakuna Matata and may be realises Rafiki is friend. From other sources, jambo, bwana, safari, daktari and jenga are known. Some words are fun - pikipiki (motorbike), koukou (chicken) mimi (I). Essential are "sawa sawa" (okay) and Asante sana (thank you very much) to which the answer is Karibu (welcome).
A car, interestingly, is a Gari! As for saying my name, some wanted to say Carey (which is good) or Gray (which my nan used to write in my birthday cards). Some liked to change the surname to Brandy (not so good). In fact there is a real thing about "n" before consonants, which (like other Africans) they like to introduce. I met a girl who pronounced the word "eager" as "hinger". Like the Chinese, some confuse "l" and "r".

Kenyan Names

Kenyans seem nearly all to have two names - an African one (usually in their local language, eg Murungi, Muithi, Mwenga) and a "Christian" ie western name (often Bible names like David, Joshaphat or Joram but also George, Benson, Nelson, Francis - as in Drake). It surprise me that, certainly in the past, the idea of getting a western name by means of baptism was an attraction.
The idea of naming a child after someone you admire is very much alive. One pastor has a son Malcolm, named after a minister in this country and there is more than one Les Beard, named for the man who spent five years in Kisumu some years ago with GBM. (When one man told me his son's name at first I thought he was saying another word that begins "Lesb" and felt rather nervous though I was sure he could not be saying what I thought he was). I'm told there is also a Beard and girls named for Ann, Les's wife.
Patronyms are traditionally used among some Kenyan tribes, including the Maasai who use Ole. The Kalenjins use Arap (very much like the Welsh Ap, note) as in Daniel Arap Moi. There is also an endearing tradition of using the word Mama or Baba and the name of one of their children to refer respectfully to people. Mzee is a term of respect for (usually older) men.
In the Dholuo language of the Luo male names often begin with "O" (as in Obama). It means "he".

Kenya 05

My main reason for coming to Kenya was to speak at the annual ministers conference of the Trinity Baptist Association sponsored by TBC in Nairobi. I was fairly free for most of Monday and did some reading and writing as ministers began to arrive (one or two came on Saturday). By the evening we were up to around 30. (People kept coming over the four days and eventually went over the 50 mark). My subject was regeneration and I gave my first paper "What is Regeneration?" on Monday evening. The men listened well and hopefully were helped. Each day began with devotions led by one of the men (Fred Lodeki, Murungi Igwata and another). Altogether I gave some seven messages on regeneration (all from the book) and at the end preached on Psalm 122 in the prayer meeting. I was also in a question session on the Thursday afternoon, which was very profitable. The singing (unaccompanied from Grace Hymns) was fine - good old fashioned hymns with a penchant for choruses. I have never sung "Do not pass me by" so slowly.

Keith Underhill also spoke well on the history of regeneration and preaching regeneration. He also gave a paper on the 1689 Confession. At first I was wondering whether these Africans needed to hear this but then I realised that it is as much their history as mine, just as we also share a heritage in Calvin in Geneva and Augustine in Hippo. There were also workshops on church association life, a discussion on future conferences and a question time mostly on regeneration but raising other issues such as the Law too.

A small team of women led by a catering student called Salome provided cooked meals twice a day and chai. A young lady from the church called Mary registered everyone and a team of young people dealt with the PA and the recording. They worked really hard. There was plenty of free time to chat to the men. They would come up to me one by one and say they have two or three things to talk about, one would be the need for chairs, a building, a new roof, help with work among disabled children, outreach to Tanzania, etc. There were always other questions - on outreach, how to foster unity, the situation in England plus family situations and more general matters. I also chatted with a lot of men more generally about all sorts of things. Each night I slept quite well, despite crowing cockerels and barking dogs. What a privilege to be involved in such a work.

Kenya 04

After church I went with Keith to the home of a TBC member, a lady who has been involved in a traffic accident en route to a funeral in Kericho. That part of Embakasi is one of the less attractive parts of Nairobi. The lady concerned (Dabo) lives in a small one room flat with her children. She has clearly been badly shaken and has a fractured shoulder but was able to quote Scripture (James 1 - Count it all joy when you face trials, etc) and testify to God's grace. We were later joined by a delegation of women (some Muslim) who try to help the community and of whom the lady is the chair. It is their tradition they said. Keith had words of comfort from Scripture for her and the visitors listened too. We were accompanied on the journey by Patrick Ochienge who works up north with the Rendille (Dabo's son had visited Patrick with Keith up there). There is a drought at present in the north, the drier part of Kenya. Patrick told me that the Rendille will drink camel's urine if unable to find water elsewhere. Some of these people have never heard of Christ but Patrick and others are bringing the gospel to them and knowing some success.

Kenya 03

My third day in Kenya was the Lord's Day.It was spent mostly at the church. They begin at 9.15 am singing the hymns for the day. (The hymns from Grace Hymns are sung unaccompanied, originally by necessity rather than choice but it works well despite the narrowed repertoire). All age Sunday School begins at 9.30. Keith has reached Chapter 28 of the 1689 Confession on the sacraments (like the 1689 itself, he prefers the word ordinances). People seemed a little slow to respond but it was fine. I preached then in the morning meeting led by Keith. They sang just one Swahili hymn, the others in English. The hymns are projected onto the wall. I preached on 1 John 1:7 and that went okay. We then had lunch together in the church. In the afternoon i spoke to the women's meeting. There was a new baby (Kala) and so first I gave a short message on Romans 12:15, 16 and then they presented gifts they'd bought to the mother for the baby. The evening meeting started at 4 pm with Keith preaching on Genesis 21. It's often a blessing to be with another congregation for the day, even more so one so far away from home yet clearly united with us in the things of God.

Kenya 02

On the second day of my stay in Kenya (a Saturday) we sped 70 km along the (mostly good) Mombasa Road out into the countryside to an area called Kima. We saw giraffes on the way, which was nice (also antelope and cattle, goats and large ant hills). The folk at Kima are hoping to form into a church under the auspices of Trinity Baptist (churches in Kenya all have to be registered). They have a pastor (Donald Kiveungi) and have erected a steel frame with a tarpaulin in which to meet. We were very warmly welcomed being fed on fried goat liver and intestine among other things. Eventually we got down to business singing in English, Swahili and Kikamba and hearing Keith on Ephesians 2. We then got into groups to interview the prospective members. I was with Pastor Murungi. The people had all been catechised in AIC churches as teenagers after going through catechism class. They had then subsequenty been converted but not required to be baptised. (I was amazed to learn that one attraction of baptism was getting a "Christian name"!). So there are a few headaches and a lot of bad teaching to be eradicated, but God willing, a church will soon be formed. They sent us away with gifts of fruit and eggs and a live chicken! What a privilege to see a work of God in a relatively remote area.

Kenya 01

For the last week I have been in Kenya. I arrived in Nairobi at 6.30 am on Friday morning after an overnight flight direct from London on Kenya Airways. I sorted my visa, collected my bag and Pastor Keith Underhill met me at the gate and brought me in his car through the busy streets to his home next to Trinity Baptist Church in Donholm, Eastlands. There I was received by him and Priscilla and their adopted teenage child Carol. We talked and then I rested in the room in the house that they have kindly provided for me.

Later I had tea with Keith's fellow Pastor Murungi Igweta and his wife, Charity, over in a flat about 20 minutes walk away. Poor Murungi was bringing books over for the pastors conference but they were stolen and have now been sold to unsuspecting people in the city.

It is all interesting in a new country so it was fun to see the children, a few goats, some ducks, lots of dust and rubbish, the water carrier with his cart labelled "glamorous", the "Lifestyle butchers", etc. It was good to enjoy a meal of chapattis and meat stew with them and to meet their four children (two of their own and two fostered). We soon had to head back to the church, where a Dine and Listen was arranged. I was the speaker (on Matthew 11:28-30). There were about 80 present, mostly church members but including several others. I managed to get in the word uhuru (freedom) which went down well. What an opportunity! I talked to one young woman who had never been before who showed real interest.

No Banner

Unusually I'm not at the Banner Conference in Leicester this week. Pity. No-one seems to be blogging what's going on.

Bunhill Fields 04 Wesley Museum

We finished off with a trip to the Wesley Museum across the street. We were very kindly given a free guided tour. It's a fascinating story. More here. The guide seemed to be mainly interested in the social history. Methodism is rather different to what it was in Wesley's day, sadly.

Bunhill Fields 03

At Bunyan's grave

Bunhill Fields 02

One grave I'd never noticed before in Bunhill is that of William Shrubsole (1760-1806). Not to be confused with the hymn writer fo the same name this one was a chor­ister at Can­ter­bu­ry Ca­thed­ral for se­ven years. He be­came or­ganist at Bango­r Ca­thed­ral around 1780, but his sym­pa­thies for the “dis­sent­ers” were not well re­ceived there, as ev­i­denced by these re­cords:
October 1783. Mr. Will­iam Shrub­sole, the or­gan­ist of the Church, hav­ing giv­en great of­fence to the Dean and Chap­ter, by his close con­nex­ion with one Ab­bot, late of this place, as by his fre­quent­ing con­vent­i­cles, that Mr. Dean be im­pow­ered to dis­charge the said Will­iam Shrub­sole from his place of or­gan­ist, if the said Ab­bot (who is sup­posed to have gone to re­side in Dub­lin), shall at any time here­af­ter re­turn in or­der to abide in the town of Bang­or, or the neigh­bour­hood there­of, or if the said Will­iam Shrub­sole shall be found to frequent any con­vent­i­cle or re­li­gious as­sem­bly, where any­thing is taught which is con­tra­ry to the Doc­trine or Dis­ci­pline of the Church of Eng­land.
December 1783. That Will­iam Shrub­sole be em­ployed to play on the or­gan of our Ca­thed­ral Church till Lady-day next and no long­er; that in case it should not be con­ven­ient for him to con­tin­ue in that em­ploy­ment till La­dy-day next, he shall be at lib­er­ty to leave it be­fore that time, and shall be paid the full al­low­ance to Lady-day next not­with­stand­ing. (Lightwood, pp. 167, 168)
After de­part­ing Bang­or, Shrub­sole be­came or­gan­ist at Spa­fields Cha­pel, Lon­don, in 1784, and re­mained there unt­il his death. As the gravestone notes he was the composer of Miles' Lane (which I associate with "All hail the power").

Bunhill Fields 01

I made a trip to Bunhill Fields with my son and daughter in law yesterday. It was a beautiful day and we got to see and remember (or learn about) several worthies. This granite obelisk was raised in 1875. On it you may read these words

East side:

Erected by lovers of Hart's hymns, published in 1759, and still highly prized by the Church of God. The author's remains were interred on this spot, as the original stone yet remains to show.
JOSEPH HART, minister of the Gospel, died May 24th,1768, aged 56.

South side:
JOSEPH HART was by the free and sovereign Grace and Spirit of God raised from the depths of sin, and delivered from the bonds of mere profession and self-righteousness and led to rest entirely for salvation in the finished atonement and perfect obedience of Christ.

"Mercy is welcome news indeed
To those who guilty stand;
Wretches who feel what help they need
Will bless the helping hand."


North side:
"Though I am a stranger to others and a wonder to myself, yet I know Him (Christ), or rather am known of Him. Where sin abounded Grace did much more abound."

"O! bring no price!
God's grace is free
To Paul, to Magdalene and me."

"None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."

Feltham Bible Focus

It was a great privilege to be the speaker at Feltham Bible Focus last Saturday on Keep yourselves from idols (the message will appear on the Feltham website eventually). I had a lovely meal beforehand with the pastor of Feltham Evangelical Church Phil Venables and his family (like us it's all boys, home schooled but also learning Chinese, part of their maternal heritage). About 40 gathered mostly from the Feltham church but also from other churches nearby. There was a good age spread and a happy atmosphere. Refreshments were served after. What a good evening.

The Frozen Thames

I happened on this the other week. By the Candain author, Helen Humphries, it really is a great book. It is a brilliant idea (taking each year the Thames froze over from 1142 to 1895 and weaving a short story or something similar from known facts of that year) brilliantly executed (the prose is brief, evocative, beautiful and tells story both local and universal in feel). The hardback presentation (10 cm X 10.5 cm) including the lovely prints adds to the pleasure. Hunt it down.

New Akkerman Album

I've been trying to find time to listen to the new Akkerman CD and am slowly getting to know it. The first thing that strikes you about the album is the quality of the guitar sound. The high standard of the equipment, the way it is recorded and above all the skill of the guitarist himself combine to make it quite a striking thing. It is also good to have a real band playing real instruments. Akkerman has produced a lot of unreleased tracks using his computer to back him, there is something slighlty unsatisfying about it. No such danger here. Joy and The Arrogant Frogs feature smokey trumpeter Eric Vloeimanns.
I did see one review complaining about the way the guitar is recorded. I don't think this is a mistake but something deliberate. This is Jan Akkerman and Band not two or even four musicians collaborating. Much as we may long for the Focus days, they are pretty much gone (certainly as far as Akkerman is concerned).
Because it is an instrumental album and chiefly blues and jazz on a first listen I thought the tracks sounded quite similar to each other in some ways and nothing really moved me. I have learned, however, with Akkerman not to go on first impressions. Part of the problem, I'm sure, is that I listen to so much pop music that I'm quite lazy. A little more effort had me drawn first to the closing track Mena Muria and then Kharmah Chantallah, both possessing the sort of lyrical quality I like best in Akkerman. Next it was As Long as you're near and then the subtle Love Train, a simply amazing track that really does grow on you. I'm currently getting into Searching for Angela. The opener Free Wheeling does what it says on the tin and is excellent as is Minor Details. Joy threw me at first as I expected something different but that one is a grower too.
So even at this stage we can see we have an album well worth hearing, even if it takes a little while to appreciate.

VR02 Reading

Saw her again today in Reading

VR01 Southport

I noticed this statue of Queen Victoria in Southport the other week

A good few days

It's been pretty busy the last few days.
Elisha and Hazael
1. Sunday morning I preached here in Childs Hill on 2 Kings 8:7-15 on God holds the future. This was the eighteenth in a series on Elisha. My two main points were that God holds the future and reveals some things about it and that he holds the future, which is not always rosy. We had a good number present including visitors around for Mothers Day and a new couple from the Philippines.

Durands

2. In the afternoon I popped out to nearby Muswell Hill to collect Emmanuel Durand who had been preaching for Chris Bennett so that after tea with us he could preach and speak about the UFM work he is involved in, in Britanny. He enjoyed speaking Welsh with us at tea and a bit of French with members who speak it in church. Thankfully he preached the sermon and gave his report in English. It was great to hear. (Also see here and here)

3. On Monday they had workshops on creation at one of the schools in Childs Hill. I had the opportunity to present the Christian view from Genesis. I began by reading Genesis 1 from the NIrV, getting them to count off Day 1, 2, 3, etc. I then gave a simple powerpoint presentation of the material, touching on Genesis 2, before taking questions. The first group were a little slow getting off the blocks but got going eventually. They wanted to talk about the end of the word as well as the beginning but, while making the point that you can't understand the one without the other, I tried to keep on track. Someone asked me in the afternoon if Adam was a Muslim. Each workshop finished with the kids making posters showing the six days of creation. (I also showed the first group this). There was also a final whole school report back. Most of the workshops had done the Christian view and one the Jewish (pretty much the same). Islam I gather accepts six day creation to some extent but not the biblical account. There were also workshops on some of the more exotic creation stories among Native Americans, etc. (See here). So it was good opportunity and I certainly enjoyed it.
Asghers

4. In the evening I was over in Hounslow for a series of meetings about the church planting work in Cranford. That went well. We are now moving into a new phase of the work with support coming through a trust rather than FIEC. Robin Asgher again had news to report of contacts with Asian people and opportunities to speak to Buddhists, Muslims and others. Always encouraging.

PfS Reading
5. Then this morning I was standing in at the FIEC's PfS course in Reading giving a seminar on Proverbs 9. Around 30 men and women of different ages were present, most of whom I'd not met before, and I think we had a good time. Chris Bennett followed me on the doctrine of Christ. As a WelshmanI've been through Reading a hundred times or more but I don't recall ever being there before so that was good. The Cooks are a lovely couple and made me feel very welcome.

April Foolery

I decided against an April Fool this time round. The one I'd been thinking about didn't seem quite right, somehow. There were a few about, however, including Youtube's mild mannered trip back to 1911 and Google mail's thing about non-mouse control. I also liked heresy huntin'  Martin Donwes' revaltion about the Lloyd-Jones diaries (that worked because you just wanted it to be true). Best of all was Mohammed Al Fayed's Michael Jackson statue at the Fulham ground. Jackson did watch a game there once (against Wigan) so deserves a statue I guess. Priceless.
... It is ...??

20 Facts about the human body

1. Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.
2. The average human body contains enough: iron to make a 3 inch nail, sulphur to kill all fleas on an average dog, carbon to make 900 pencils, potassium to fire a toy cannon, fat to make 7 bars of soap, phosphorous to make 2,200 match heads, and water to fill a ten-gallon tank.
3. More people are allergic to cow’s milk than any other food.
5. Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day! Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe!
6. You are born with 300 bones, but by the time you become an adult, you only have 206.
8. One quarter of the bones in your body, are in your feet!
9. It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
10. Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
11. Beards are the fastest growing hairs on the human body. If the average man never trimmed his beard, it would grow to nearly 30 feet long in his lifetime.
12. Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different!
13. Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!
14. Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin!
15. The present population of 6 billion plus people of the world is predicted to become 15 billion by 2080. The only time the human population declined was in the years following 1347, the start of the epidemic of the plague ‘Black Death’ in Europe.
16. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
17. The human brain is 78% water.
18. An average person uses the bathroom 6 times per day.
19. An individual blood cell takes about 60 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body.
20. Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.
I can't verify these. I came across them somewhere on the net looking for fact 2.

Pray for Botswana

Next Saturday

You may be interested to know that next Saturday evening I am speaking at the regular Bible Focus meeting in Feltham. The subject is Keep yourselves from idols. More details of Feltham Bible Focus here.

Posts elsewhere

It's quite quiet here I know but do check out Sola Scriptura for my post called Job and Japan here and the Evangelical Library website for my paper on the AV here.