We are a little behind here but it has been a busy time. Long before I knew I would be spending the first couple of weeks of October in South Africa I agreed to take a weekend of services for Ebenezer Baptist Church, Swansea. If I remember correctly we deliberately went for the second weekend of half term. Normally, I do not accompany Eleri and the boys to Aberystwyth for half term but I planned to do so this time, knowing that I could catch Focus in Swansea on the Thursday too. of course, what none of us could have foreseen was that my mother-in-law's funeral would be on the Thursday of half term and so I had to be in Aber anyway.
Anyway, I spoke on Saturday afternoon at Ebenezer in the Mission Hall on John Owen and in the evening gave an evangelistic message from John 3. We had tea in between. Both congregations were around the 30 mark though the make up of each was slightly different. The first included a couple I know from Port Talbot. It was kind of them to come. I would guess there were several unbelievers in the second meeting. I hope the message went home. The contrasting meetings both could have been improved I felt. The John Owen paper would have benefited from a little bit of application at the end and the transition from regeneration to justification in the sermon on John 3 could have been handled better, perhaps.
We stayed overnight in Cardiff with Eleri's sister and her family. It's always good to be with them.
We also had a good Lord's day at the regular services. About sixty were present in this morning and something less than that in the evening. I decided to preach on single texts - 1 Peter 5:7 and Proverbs 4:23. This is generally a better approach I find than trying to pick out something from a systematic series. The morning sermon went best, probably because it is a universal text and because I started and ended with a story - something I don't ever recall doing in the past. I was due to end with a story and as I came to the chapel I remembered another appropriate one and decided to begin with it.
It was good to be with the Ebenezer folk. I haven't preached there in a while. Among the bonuses of the time was spending some time with my third son who is a student in Swansea and with Dave and Ann Evans. Dave is an elder in the church. I had not expected the pastor, Graham John, to be there as he was due to be in China. The death of a close relative had precluded this and so it was good to renew fellowship. We first met as students and have lived parallel lives over the years in Wales and London.