The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. 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.


A young person asked me recently what I thought of Halloween and should Christians celebrate it. My answer sounded a little waffly.

My cheeky son said to me 'surely it is an evil thing that no Christian should be involved in'. 'Well, no', I said, shiftily. 'Well that's what I read on a leaflet I found at church', he replied. I don't know if he was telling the truth about that.

It is difficult. I thought this was a fair satirical comment on the subject over at Tominthebox here. (Excuse his typo).

Westminster Conference 2007

The truth shall make you free
The details of this year's Westminster Conference have just come through my letter box - ah, the letter box. Remeber the halcyon days of two posts and everything by letter?

For those of you not on the mailing list, the details are as follows.

It’s on Tuesday/Wednesday 11th-12th December at Friend’s House, 173 Euston Rd, London, opposite Euston Station. The cost is £35 (£20 for full-time students).

The programme is:

Tuesday 11th December

11.00 The Clapham Sect and the Abolition of Slavery - Roger Fay
14.00 Charles Wesley and his Hymns - Graham Harrison (I'm chairing this one)
16.45 Preaching - “ex opere operato” - Robert Strivens

Wednesday 12th December

11.00 Turretin [see pic] and the place of Systematic Theology - Maurice Roberts
14.00 Stephen Charnock and the Knowledge of God in Christ - Jeremy Walker
16.45 The Preaching of John Newton - John Harris

Further information and booking forms available from John Harris, 8 Back Knowl Rd, Mirfield, W. Yorks, WF14 9SA
The night before an evening with John Newton has been arranged with Brian Edwards and George Curry speaking. The event, appropriately, is at St Mary Woolnoth, EC3 (Bank).

Cleopatra's Nose

In a note found after his death in 1662 Blaise Pascal wrote:

"Anyone who wants to know the full extent of human vanity has only to consider the causes and effects of love. Cleopatra's nose: had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have changed."
Quite what Pascal meant by that is arguable. Did he mean her beauty or was he referring to strength of character or something like that?
In Dr Faustus Christopher Marlowe wrote of Helen of Troy
Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
But here we are much more in the realms of legend.

New Blog

We may be reaching danger point here but I recently started a new blog (as I do) - on the Great Ejection. Why? Because I couldn't find much on it elsewhere and I think there should be more. See here.

Bloggy Special 18


It was my privilege to preach yesterday in Banbury Evangelical Church. The church was formed some 24 years ago and meets in Banbury School, in a lecture theatre in the Sixth Form area (ideal in many ways for preaching and listening). Until recently their pastor was Robert Strivens but he is taking up this post as Principal of LTS. Having had some hand in that I felt obliged to preach.
I enjoyed the time among this group of around 50 (am) 30 (pm), fairly monocultural, fairly greying but earnest Christians in the Dr Lloyd-Jones tradition. I had a very nice afternoon with one of the elders and his wife, parents of four grown up children and learning Arabic in their spare time (!).
The service was very simple and straightforward (New Christian Hymns, ESV) - the way I like it. I preached from Matthew 11:28-30 and on Solomon's wisdom from 1 Kings 3. Several seemed to be taking notes. There are three elders and the church seemed fairly positive though there is a little frustration perhaps. For example a lady came in that morning who loved the sermon, etc, but is looking for something 'more lively' in the singing department and probably won't return. Our situation here is similar and I guess that if we 're not going to get a praise band the only answer is a pouring out of the Spirit.
En route I caught some of the Radio 4 morning service. There was a praise band and the music was well executed if you like that style (even the drummer was halfway decent - a rare thing in this context I find). It was obviously an Anglican church as they had absolution near the end. I wasn't sure if it was evangelical as the message was rather woolly. At the end they said it was from St Michael's, Aberystwyth and Stuart Bell was the preacher. That made sense. (I noticed that the producer was the late Hugh Morgan's daughter, Sian Baker).

Last Saturday

Saturday was quite a full day as we'd organised meetings in the morning at chapel and in the evening at home.
In the morning we had a Holiday Bible Club Special for children 4-10. We looked at the story of Jonah using the usual elements - story, singing, memory verse, activity sheet, craft and games. We have a good team and it was fairly easy to get organised although may be we should have publicised more. Only 12 came (half churchy kids, half not), which is less than we hoped for but not entirely useless. Some were still away at the end of half term holiday but the main problem is Saturday morning activities.
[Excursus] {My wife mentioned Karate, swimming, etc. I mistakenly thought she meant karate swimming, which if you could organise it would have every kid in the neighbourhood doing it. My wife and I are often on the wrong wave length. She told me she wanted to buy a dress on sale at Laura Ashley that costs hundreds of pounds but she wanted me to see it first. Well, this is unusual I thought but I'm a kind man. Anyway we drive to Staples Corner and I'm surprised because I didn't think any store there sold dresses. Anyway it's a dresser she's after not a dress in the Laura Ashley homestyle shop!}
In the evening about 20 over 15s squeezed into our house for a get together to remember the Reformation. We had a chat and some food and a few games then our friend Luke Jenner kindly spoke on the Reformation and the centrality of justification by faith. This was the second of a series of new meetings we're trying. It seems to work well with a good variety of people coming along.
PS We're decorating, hence no wallpaper

Hymn of the week 16

Charles Wesley
That final line (And watch a moment to secure - an everlasting rest!) is remarkable.

Thou Judge of quick and dead, before Whose bar severe,
With holy joy, or guilty dread, we all shall soon appear;
Our cautioned souls prepare for that tremendous day,
And fill us now with watchful care, and stir us up to pray.

To pray, and wait the hour, that wondrous hour unknown,
When, robed in majesty and power, Thou shalt from Heaven come down
The immortal Son of Man, to judge the human race,
With all Thy Father’s dazzling train, with all Thy glorious grace.

To damp our earthly joys, to increase our gracious fears,
For ever let the archangel’s voice be sounding in our ears;
The solemn midnight cry, “Ye dead, the Judge is come,
Arise, and meet Him in the sky, and meet your instant doom!”

O may we thus be found obedient to His Word,
Attentive to the trumpet’s sound, and looking for our Lord!
O may we thus ensure a lot among the blest;
And watch a moment to secure an everlasting rest!

Mission Meetings

Last Tuesday it was my privilege to be at the annual Grace Baptist Mission Meetings at the Friends Meeting House near Euston. I haven't written anything about it yet due to a lack of time.
I was at some very good EMF meetings in Welwyn shortly before on the work in Spain and Portugal and have said nothing about that. Under the chairmanship of Martin Leech, Daniel Webber spoke first, then Jose Segovia and Manuel Franco, our Spanish Presbyterian friends. Perhaps the most telling remark was Jose's regarding a trip to Mexico where there is a real eagerness for the gospel - not due to any technique but to God's sovereign moving.
After lunch, from Portugal, Jose Rodriques (Alto do Moinho) spoke too [a bit too much about buildings from the Baptist, I'm afraid].
It's always good to be at such events. Quite apart from what is said in public, the informal fellowship with people is always a blessing. See here.
On Tuesday we began with the formal delegates meeting. Such meetings are never easy but the chairman Ron Low, succeeded this year by Geoff King, always do well. Perhaps we should be encouraged more to speak but it's difficult to draw a line regarding what we can talk about and what we really can't. I asked a question about how missionaries' stipends are scaled and had a clear, helpful answer from Andrew Sadler who deals with finance.
I had a nice Indian vegetarian lunch with two friends (a little ritual of the last few years although there were less of us than usual).
I then caught two sessions - one very encouraging and one not so. The first was a two parter outlining plans for outreach in the 2012 Olympics and announcing a AGBCSE initiative to church plant in a new development in North Kent. Both presentations (from Nigel Hoad and Steve Richards) were a little lacklustre in a rather modern powerpoint sort of way. A lot of time was taken up relaying the government's plans. Some very ambitious ideas involving huge amounts of money and vast numbers of people were outlined. We were all thinking - but how do we sustain what we've already started and haven't we heard things like this before (eg Newmarket and Bedworth)? One longed for a Lloyd-Jones and a more 'spiritual', God-centred approach. God is the one who builds churches.
Much more encouraging was Brian Ellis's session outlining the various aspects of the work in the Philippines. It struck me that this is the way to success. Begin with the basics - preaching, gathering a church, prayer. The other things will follow on if it is God's will.
At tea-time I slipped over to Euston for a cuppa and got chatting to a Seventh Day Adventist. All very interesting. I urged her to read more John Bunyan and less Ellen G White.
The evening meeting featured several people who spoke briefly. They have fresh new workers for Kenya, the Andersons. Ms Schwier is off somewhere exotic and Mr Read is already at it (we can't say where). We also heard from the Joneses in Kisumu.
The preacher was Andy Christophides who I also heard last summer in Aber. I think he must make a habit of coming down off the stage like that. It's okay but a little distracting. Equally distracting was his decision to tell us he was not a cessationist. He is a keen evangelist and the idea of all this was to do something to win people to Christ. That element one can't knock - though perhaps the appeal was too much to the will and not enough to the affections.
It's easy to knock things isn't it? With around 800 (?) present it was a joy to be there.

Alan Coren

I hear that the broadcaster, writer and humorist Alan Coren died just over a week ago. He was 69. See here.
One of his passions in life was putting Cricklewood, where he lived for many years, on the map. Being practically in Cricklewood here that seemed a good idea to me.
Early in my ministry I did quite a bit of door to door work and one day I doorstepped Mr Coren who was in his dressing gown and about to have a bath I guess. Less familiar to me then I still recognised him as someone I had seen on Call My Bluff (TV quiz) and elsewhere - it happens from time to time. We exchanged only a few words and was quite friendly. I don't know if there were any gospel influences in his life. I'm certainly not aware of any profession of faith.
It is a reminder of how quickly time passes, how soon people are in their graves and how few are our opportunities of reaching people. We need to work now, to sow our seed while we can.

10 Hungarian/Romanian words we know

For obvious reasons
1. Biro - UK word for ball-point pen; named after its Hungarian inventor
(I suppose Rubik Cube could be included here on that basis)
2. Coach - Named after its town of origin
3. Goulash - Herdsman's meat, a type of stew
4. Hussar - Light cavalry soldier
5. Paprika - A spice
6. Sabre - A type of sword
7. Dracula - The snake. Mythical vampire figure from the Transylvanian region of Romania
8. Halvah - Sweet of sesame, honey and flour
9. Pastrami - A cured meat
I could only get 9 so I've added
10. Vampire - Witch. Mythical European blood sucking human; blood sucking South American bat. The word is apparently from Serbian.

Hundred Texts 91-100

Final Ten
91. Daniel 9:18
O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.
92. Philippinas 3:7-9
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
93. Jude 20, 21
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
94. Romans 3:24-26
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
95. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
96. Romans 8:26, 27
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
97. Luke 1:3, 4
it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
98. John 20:30, 31
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
99. 1 Timothy 4:1-3
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
100. Revelation 22:8,9
Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

Favourite Puns 26

Hungry in Hungary
(this is on a par with being with my nieces in Nice)

Romania 06

Oradea is, of course, in Transylvania, which (thanks to Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker) has a certain resonance for English ears. Because Oradea is so close to the Hungarian border it was easiest to come in via Budapest rather than via Bucharest. Oradea does have an airport but it is quite small.
On the way back shortly after the prompt border crossing we were stopped further into Hungary by border guards. This was essentially a non-event but it was a reminder of how different things were just a short while ago. One remembers the story of the sun and the wind trying to get the man's coat off. The winds of persecution largely failed. We pray that the sunshine of freedom will prove equally unable to the armour of God which many there are clearly seeking to wear.

Romania 05

On the final morning we had chance to do a little more sightseeing before heading back to Budapest and home via Amsterdam.

So all in all it was a fine trip and very enjoyable. The churches seem to be in fine fettle though not without their problems. As the days of fierce persecution recede the real challenge is to remain faithful and prophetic and to live for God's glory. The tradtions are okay though not without fault. American money is again a two-edged sword. It was funny to see in the college chapel the cheesy portraits of two (obviously American) couples who presumably paid for it all.
The large Emanuel church with its High School and the Baptist University is very impressive. Editura Faclia is obviously a great asset (see here) too, but again not without its difficulties. God is good adn is hand is clearly at work. It was interesting to talk to Cornel, a student detailed to show us around on that final morning. He has been on several overseas trips with other students to one particualr country. The needs of others are not being forgotten.

Romania 04

On the Lord's Day we each preached in different churches. John preached at a church further out (St Martin's) in the morning and then shared the preaching at Emanuel in the evening. Phil and I alternated at Golgotha and Zion. I was at Golgotha in the morning. Corneliu translated for me. The pastor there is Daniel Tanc (see pic).
Unimpressive from the outside this was a fine building. We entered as all age Sunday School was progressing. All the older members (men one side, women the other) were in the body of the church and the younger members in the 'choir stalls'. They contributed a song and a brass band piece. There was a little congregational singing and the reading - stood, as I now expected - and followed by a prayer from someone in the congregation.
I preached on Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and hopefully got through. Everyone under 166 must have been in Sunday School, which was a pity. I had a nice chat to a young man called Ghitsa.
In the evening I preached on Solomon's wisdom at Zion. This was a more compact church with a gallery. The place was full but part of the reason for that was that it was one of those Sundays when a village congregation is invited in. This meant an inordinate number of 'items' (brass band instrumentals and choir pieces - at least a dozen) plus 20 minutes from the pastor before I could get to preach. I nearly went mad. It reminded me of Sunday School anniversary in my home church.
Anyway I had a nice time with the pastor there Vlorian Ile and his family, including his lovely little boy Serju (I was really missing my family by then). No pictures as I left my camera behind.

Romania 03

After the conference there was time to relax. We walked into town from the University. Oradea is clearly a developing town with many of the features of any modern European city. We went into a shopping mall for a coffee and to buy some gifts and I could have been in Brent Cross for all the difference. That's what makes buying gifts difficult. Everything is so internationalised. I managed to find some chocolate with suitably Romanian labels and some mugs for the boys celebrating Steaua and Rapid Bucharest (nearly 500 km away!).
At the same time religion is in evidence. Work on the Orthodox Cathedral with its impressive roof continues (John said it had been going on for years). We took the tram back and were then due to join Dinu, Lydia and their son Andrei for our evening meal. They took us out to the rather select Hotel Scorilo (see here). In an attempt to avoid the smoke we ended up in a room themed on the story of Al Capone. Prison uniforms were provided and I managed to get us all into the hats (although Lydia I notice declined to wear hers).

Romania 02

The conference took place in the impressive college chapel of the Baptist University in Oradea. Some 140-150 students and pastors were present. The senior pastor at Emanuel and the President of the University, Paul Negrut, kicked things off with some warm words of welcome. Phil spoke first and I second, after a break. We both spoke twice on the first day then once on the Saturday morning. Phil spoke on verses in Colossians 2. His Welwyn commentary on the book has just appeared (see here). He had the excellent help of professor Dr Corneliu Simut (see here) as translator. Corneliu is a church history specialist who has studied under Carl Trueman and did his PhD on Richard Hooker. I tackled three wisdom books with the help of Dr Dan Boutica (see here page 6). (For the second and longest Dinu stood in as translator as Dan was unable to be present). Things went quite well considering the difficulties involved. Using a translator is not the best way to communicate but it beats not having one at all!
The Romanians love their singing and there was plenty of that as well some prayers and reading of Scripture - both always conducted with the people standing up. The University Dean Dorin Hnatiuc, led the singing with gusto. He also preached the closing sermon - a striking one on the demands of the ministry from Ecclesiastes 10:8, 9.There were two bookstalls but sales were not high. Interaction with attendees present was possible to some extent, although not all (especially the older ones) spoke English. (Romanian is perhaps most like Italian but with dashes of slav. It is phonetic but relies on a vast number of diacritical marks. I at least learned to say Pac(h)-e (Peace) - the accepted greeting among Christians).
On the Saturday we had a question session (a new departure it seems) when four questions were asked, mostly to do with the texts, although one was about baptism and whether entrance to heaven is possible without it. Phil answered very well not downplaying baptism but stressing that it is an act of obedience and we are saved in the end by faith not works.
[See Pic 1. Pic 2 shows the chapel and Pic 3 shows Dorin Hnatiuc, Phil, me, Dinu, Corneliu Simut]

Romania 01

So last Thursday I set off nice and early for Heathrow Airport where I caught a KLM flight to Schiphol, Amsterdam [Pic 01]. There to greet me, fresh in from Teesside Durham, was John Rubens, who had arranged this trip on behalf of Evangelical Press and in association with Dinu Moga in Oradea. John is pastor of an FIEC church in Newton Aycliffe but continues to work part-time for EP. We were soon joined by Phil Arthur who had flown to Amsterdam from Manchester. Phil is pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Lancaster. I knew both John and Phil before this trip but it was good to get to know them better.
After a short stop for lunch we headed on, with Malev, to Budapest (Hungary), an hour and three quarters away. At the airport we were met by Lazslo who took us the 160 miles east, to Oradea, just over the Romanian border. It was soon dark and there was not much to see - on the return journey I realised it is not much different in daylight as Hungary is incredibly flat an we went through no major towns. The road is good but mostly single lane. The church and university in Oradea has a lot of interaction with the west and so Laszlo spends a lot of time driving to and fro.
We came first for a meal to the very tasteful home of Dinu and Lydia Moga [Pic 02 Them with John and Phil]. I have met Dinu several times before. He studied at LTS in the nineties and more recently has completed the MTh with the John Owen Centre. He is on the staff of the large Emanuel Baptist Church and heads up the Editura Faclia publishing house. The office is next door to his home. He was telling us how there are over 40 Christian publishing houses in Romania but still a very small market.
We were accommodated in basic but adequate accommodation on the campus of the Baptist University in Oradea (the only such institution in Europe). (See the Romanian language website here). I shared a suite with Phil and John was down the corridor.Oradea is Romania's tenth city and lie within the Transylvanian region. There have been Baptists in the city for decades and some 3% in the city would identify themselves as such (there are more Pentecostals with something like 4%). Following fierce persecution before the revolution in 1989, it has been possible to build a large church building (the largest in Europe) [Pic 03] with Christian but state funded schools on site and the Baptist University on the outskirts of town. [Pic 04 shows the view from my bedroom window].

Poll Result

So music it is then. Why does no-one have a care for the visual arts?


împreună cu
a celor ce slujesc prin puterea
Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu
19-20 Octombrie, 2007
Phil Arthur , Anglia
Gary Brady , Anglia
Str. Nufărului nr. 78
Pentru confirmarea participării dumneavoastră vă rugăm să sunaţi la : Editura Făclia,
Tel: 0259 – 419318 sau 0722-609746

This is the heading for a conference that I'm going to be speaking at this week in Romania. I've little experience of this sort of thing so I'm slightly apprehensive. The programme begins tomorrow and is thus:

Travel to Oradea (Romania) on a KLM flight to Budapest (Hungary) via Amsterdam then on to Oradea, 160 miles east, just over the Romanian border. I fly from Heathrow alone and join up with John Rubens and Phil Arthur in Holland.
After Phil Arthur has spoken and after coffee I speak at noon on preaching from Proverbs. Then in the afternoon we follow the same pattern and at 5 pm I speak on Expounding Ecclesiastes. There is also a question and answer session later that day.
There is another half day of conference and I speak at 11 am on Sermons from The Song of Solomon.
Lords Day
In the morning I preach (10 am) in Golgotha Baptist Church, Oradea (Pastor Daniel Tanc). I will be translated by Dr. Corneliu Simut.
At 5 pm I preach in the evening service at Sion Baptist Church, Oradea (Pastors George Padure & Viorel Ile). I will be translated by Viorel Ile (with whom I will be having my evening meal - before or after)
Back to Blighty by the same route in reverse.
Do pray.

Tall buildings in the UK 04

London's tallest buildings as of this year. (Illustration needs a double click).

Hundred Texts 81-90

9th Ten
81. Romans 6:1,2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
82. 1 John 4:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
83. Isaiah 43:25
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”
84. Romans 9:12,13
it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
85. Romans 8:14,15
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
86. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
87. James 1:21,22
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
88. Isaiah 26:3,4
You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in Yah, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
89. 1 Corinthians 11:26
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
90. 1 Corinthians 14:19
yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Tall buildings in the UK 03

Citi Centre is the EMEA headquarters of financial services Citi, located in Canary Wharf. The centre provides for 170,000 sq m of floor space across two merged buildings - 33 Canada Square ("CGC1") and 25 Canada Square ("CGC2"), and houses the bulk of Citi's UK employee base.
CGC1 is the smaller of the two buildings, designed by Norman Foster and completed in 1999, two years before its neighbour. At 105 m tall, the building is made up of 18 floors, all of which are adjoined to their equivalent floors in CGC2. CGC1 is owned by Citigroup, and was built before the completion of the Jubilee Line extension in late 1999.
In contrast, CGC2 stands at 200 m and, alongside HSBC Tower (with which it was built in tandem), is joint second tallest building in the UK. Designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates, construction of the 45-storey tower began in 1998 and was completed in 2001, with Citigroup leasing the building from the outset. The building was bought by RBS in 2004 along with 5 Canada Square (leased to Bank of America) for $1.12 bn. Subsequently, in 2007, CGC2 was individually sold to a joint venture between Quinlan Private and PropInvest for £1 bn. Citigroup pay £46.5 m a year in rent for the tower, generating a yield of 4.6% to the owners.

Short Poem 30

Robert Herrick (1591-16) was a cavalier poet. Read more here. He also wrote Cherry ripe and lines such as 'gather ye rosebuds while ye may' and 'But ne'er the rose wothout the thorn'.

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

Hundred Texts 71-80

8th Ten
71. 1 Kings 8:38,39
whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men),
72. Romans 3:19,20
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
73. Jeremiah 23:5,6
"Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
74. John 4:13,14
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
75. 2 Corinthians 5:20,21
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
76. Hebrews 9:24-26
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
77. John 7:37-39
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
78. Isaiah 8:20
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
79. John 12:48
He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
80. Acts 3:20,21
and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Tall buildings in the UK 02

8 Canada Square (also known as HSBC Group Head Office, or HSBC Tower) is another skyscraper in Canary Wharf in the London Docklands. The building serves as the international headquarters for HSBC Group, the world's fourth largest bank (by total assets) and houses around 8,000 staff.
The tower was designed by Sir Norman Foster's team of architects. Construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2002. There are 42 floors in the 200 metre high tower, the joint second largest in theUK (with the Citigroup Centre). Standing alongside the HSBC Tower are 1 Canada Square (known popularly as Canary Wharf) - already mentioned; and the Citigroup Centre. It is also next door to Bank of America. The tower is not open to the public.
Last April, it became the first building in Britain to be sold for more than £1 bn. The tower was sold to Spanish property company Metrovacesa.

John Mortimer

There were some articles in The Times yesterday about the writer John Mortimer by Valerie Grove whose biography of the man comes out soon. There is a brief reference to his atheism in one article and in another these successive statements:
By now John was adept at self-deception, erasing unpleasant or inconvenient matters from his mind.
“When John doesn’t want to know something,” the forthright Penny [once his wife] told me, “he doesn’t know it.”
That would perhaps explain his atheism, do you think?

Tall buildings in the UK 01

One Canada Square, a skyscraper (made up of two Norse words, notice) in London; it is the tallest habitable building in the UK, at 235 m (771 ft) and 50 storeys (reduced from original plans for 60). Designed by the Argentinian-American architect Cesar Pelli, construction was completed in 1991. Identifiable from a great distance as an obelisk-shaped tower with its aircraft warning light flashing on top, this building is a monument to 1980s-style capitalism.
In 1990, during construction, it surpassed the UK's previous tallest building, Tower 42 (183 m, 600 ft). The construction was carried out by Canary Wharf Contractors.
The building is most commonly known as Canary Wharf, Canary Wharf Tower or the Radden Tower after the Canary Wharf business complex of which it is the most prominent feature. It was formerly called Canada Tower.
A conspicuous London landmark, it is clearly visible at a distance from large areas of East and South London in particular. Its visibility reaches to Gore Hill, Amersham around 28 miles (45 km) away, from where it, and the rest of Canary Wharf can be seen on a clear day. On a clear evening, the illuminated pyramid which forms the roof of the building can even be seen from Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, over 32 miles (51 km) away. The building can also be seen from the hills overlooking Guildford, a distance of around 31 miles (50 km).

10 Norse words we know

Ancient Norse is a rich source of words in English, words such as these
1. Berserk - The name of a warrior who fought with frenzied fury
2. By-law - Town law
3. Husband - House owner
4. Lad - Male servant
5. Mug - Viking drinking vessel
6. Oaf - Goblin
7. Skill - Distinction
8. Skirt - Shirt (English words beginning with Sh- are usually from the same root as Norse Sk-. Skirt and shirt are essentially the same words)
9. Sky - Cloud
10. Ugly - To dread
(Bonus one you all know - Window, Wind eye)

Hundred Texts 61-70

7th Ten
61. 1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
62. Matthew 9:12, 13
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
63. Romans 1:16, 17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
64. John 10:27, 28
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
65. Ezekiel 36:26, 27
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
66. Galatians 5:22-24
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
67. Deuteronomy 4:2
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
68. Deuteronomy 6:6,7
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
69. Isaiah 42:8
I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
70. 2 Kings 18:3, 4
And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

8.2 Wisdom further exemplified

Previous chapter
A lesson in wisdom
The main thing here then (in 1 Kings 4) is that wisdom is marked by order. Wisdom is concerned not only with justice and truth but also with very practical matters. It is marked by efficiency and organisation. It is systematic, methodical. It avoids chaos and waste. Solomon’s kingdom was undoubtedly a great one. Part of its secret (and this is true of any great empire of any sort) was organisation.
Now the applications for us are many. Let me highlight just four obvious ones to focus on.

1. Prayer and Bible Study
One of the marks of a Christian is that he prays. In order to do that we must develop a prayerful spirit. We also need to set aside specific times to pray as individuals and with others. This involves organisation. The same can be said of studying the Bible. If you wait for a quiet moment, it may never come. Similarly, if you plan for daily times with the Bible and have no plan for reading through the Scriptures systematically then you will make little progress. There is a lot of help available in this area but planning is vital.

2. Daily work or study
Now in some cases things are regimented for you, such as on a factory assembly line or in a primary school. In many other situations you have a certain amount of flexibility, for example as a housewife, a farmer, a taxi driver, a freelancer or a pastor. Most callings involve a mixture of regimentation and flexibility. In every case it is important that you plan your time. Wisdom says that a certain number of things need to be done or could be done but there is only a certain amount of time and somehow, allowing for interruptions and so on, we must find a way of working hard and working well for God’s glory. Similar applications could be made to the way you arrange things in your house or your weekly time-table. God is a God of order.

3. Church life
This needs order too. The Lord’s Day is most important. It is best to meet morning and afternoon or evening as it will help people to keep the whole day to the Lord. The timings should be chosen to suit the maximum number. Usually spending all day together is not a good idea as there are other things to be done (such as family time, sick visiting, reading, getting in touch with relatives elsewhere, evangelism), although it can be attempted occasionally. The services should not be overlong as some cannot sit for lengthy periods. The Lord’s Supper must be celebrated regularly. A midweek meeting is a good idea in most situations. Whether to have a combined study and prayer meeting or separate meetings will vary. Extra meetings for women, children and other groups can be useful. It is best to follow a regularly weekly pattern that people can easily understand. Church members’ meetings ought to be organised too, whatever our ecclesiology.

4. Preaching
The same principles apply here. Preachers ought to try and put things in some sort of order. Some preachers mistakenly avoid them but the words ‘firstly, secondly, etc’ in a sermon can be a tremendous help to a congregation. It ought to be easy to follow. Systematic preaching through Bible subjects and topics is also to be commended. Something similar could probably be said about other aspects of the Christian ministry such as prayer and pastoralia.

Ten Commandments 02

As promised - 6-10. For 1-5 see here.

Bloggy Special 17

Hundred Texts 51-60

6th Ten
51. Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
52. Acts 13:38,39
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
53. Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
54. 1 John 1:8, 9
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
55. Luke 24:45-47
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
56. John 15:26
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
57. 2 Timothy 3:16,17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
58. Acts 10:42, 43
And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
59. John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
60. Revelation 14:13
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”'
"Yes," says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

10 Algonquian words we know

We are aware of a limited number of Native American words in our vocabulary. Some are not every day words (such as the Algonquin Tomahawk [axe weapon and now missile]; Wigwam [His house - a Native American dwelling] and the Cree word squaw). Apart from place names most of the words seem to be from two Algonquian languages - Algonquin and Cree (my attributions may well be wrong - don't write).

1. Caribou - a type of reindeer
2. Caucus - advisor - a political committee
3. Moccasins - shoes
4. Pecan - a type of nut
5. Racoon - a nocturnal animal
6. Moose - North American elk
7. Pow wow - he dreams - A big meeting (originally a medicine man's conference).
8. Skunk - American carnivore that emits a strong smell
9. Squash - the vegetable
10. Chipmunk - North American ground squirrel
From Algonquin we also get terrapin (a freshwater tortoise) and from Cree, Eskimo (eaters of raw flesh. Eskimos call themselves "Inuit"); Opossum (small tree-dwelling American marsupial).
Other words worth noting here are toboggan (Micmac), totem (Ojibwa) and Tepee (Sioux).
For more see here

8.1 Wisdom further exemplified

Previous chapter
Solomon is most famous for his great wisdom. Already we have considered aspects of this – what wisdom is, how Solomon gained his, the nature of the wisdom that he had. The subject of wisdom continues to dominate the story of Solomon in 1 Kings 4. That might not be immediately apparent as the chapter begins with two lists and some facts and figures that, at first sight, seem to have nothing to do with wisdom. However, when you come to the end of the chapter (29-34) wisdom is clearly the theme.
'God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East … He was wiser than any other man … Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.'
These verses, which take us back to Chapter 3 where Solomon gains and manifests wisdom, suggest that the whole section, Chapters 3 and 4, is about wisdom and ought to be considered in this way.
So here is another lesson about wisdom before we go any further. It is often found where we do not expect it. Or to put it another way - we do not always recognise it when we see it. The corollary is that not all that appears to be wisdom really is wisdom. This should warn us against being too quick to suppose that something is wise or foolish. Generally speaking in the western world these last hundred years have been marked by a reluctance to hold on to the Bible and its message and a corresponding confidence in the ‘powers of science’ and in human learning to solve the world’s problems. Hopefully the tide is turning (there is some evidence for that) but the after-effects are still with us. People are beginning to see how mixed and unreliable the ‘assured results of modern science’ are, which is good. There needs to be a corresponding rediscovery of the Word of God. Here is wisdom, heavenly wisdom, the real wisdom that we all need. Is that where you are looking for wisdom? In this chapter, I would suggest, there are at least three further things to learn about wisdom and its nature.

The orderliness that wisdom creates
The Bible is full of lists – lists of names, gifts and offerings, place names, virtues and vices. What is your attitude to lists? Personally, I am positive – I use them for shopping, for packing to go away; I often make a ‘to do’ list at the start of a day. Prayer lists can be useful too. It can also be fun to list your favourites – favourite songs, favourite foods, favourite books, etc.
There has been a bit of a fad for this in recent years. Some even believe that list-making is a way to personal fulfilment. There has also been a fashion for publishing books of lists over recent decades. I have one that includes fun things like ‘ten signs spring is on its way’; ‘ten things to do at 4 in the morning’; ‘ten actors who’ve played cartoon characters’.
Lists can be enjoyable. They can also be illuminating. Take shopping lists or laundry lists. They can be interesting in their own right. The older they are the more so. Insights into ancient Egypt and Colonial New England, for example, have been gained in recent years from just such lists. We have a fascinating list somewhere in the archives of our church from the thirties or forties listing charges for use of the premises.
However, some lists are hard to get much out of, even lists in the Bible. Maybe that is how you feel about the two here. Two possible reasons for this, it has been suggested, are unwillingness to do a bit of hard work and a lack of imagination. There is no real excuse for either. We can get something from these verses.

Consider these lists
The first list (1-6). This names Solomon’s chief officials, his cabinet if you like. Some seven or eight offices are listed and some 11 officeholders (some offices are held by more than one man). There are priests, secretaries, a recorder, the commander-in-chief of armed forces, a personal advisor and men in charge of district officers, forced labour and the king’s palace.
It is clear that Solomon was concerned about religion (hence the priests), keeping records (we cannot be sure exactly what the secretaries and recorder did) and the organisation of military and labour, as well as his own personal needs. He did not do everything himself but was happy to delegate and so make use of the talents of others. That is part of wisdom we can be sure. There is a mixture here of continuity with his father’s reign and innovation, using new people and new offices – another mark of wisdom. The one possibly ominous note is the reference to forced labour. We know that this eventually became a problem when his son Rehoboam succeeded.
The second list (7-19) tells how (7) ‘Solomon also had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year.’ Their names and districts are then listed with one or two brief notes. Scholars have read all sorts of things into these verses but it simply explains the plan that Solomon adopted for providing for his own daily needs and those of his household. Some detail about this is given later in the chapter.
Rather than simply following the old tribal divisions he divided the land into 12, no doubt appropriate, districts for this specific need. Its beauty was that it kept the royal palace supplied and yet by spreading the load put no undue burden on any one district.
No doubt you can imagine the excitement in a given district – say ‘in the hill country of Ephraim’, the large hilly area north of Benjamin and Judah or ‘in Naphoth Dor’, the very fertile area on the northern tip of the Plain of Sharon, by the Mediterranean Sea – as their month approached. For 11 months of the year preparations had been underway and now for the next 30 days they were the ones responsible for making sure that there was a daily supply up in Jerusalem. They had not only to grow or acquire and store the crops and nurture the animals required but transport it all up so that it was in the right place at the right time. What a logistical challenge! Perhaps we can imagine someone reporting to Ben-Hur or Ben-Deker or one of Solomon’s sons-in-law, Ben-Abinadab or Ahimaaz, the month before about some problem and their wondering if they are going to be able to make up the potential shortfall.

Hundred Texts 41-50

5th Ten
41. Galatians 3:22
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
42. Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
43. Hebrews 2:14,15
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
44. 1 Peter 1:18,19
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
45. Hebrews 9:22
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
46. Hebrews 4:15,16
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
47. Ephesians 2:18
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
48. Matthew 22:29
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
49. Isaiah 55:1
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
50. Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

10 Englisc words we know

Someone said to me 'what about English words we know in English?'. By that I guess we mean Anglo-Saxon or Old English or Englisc as they called it then. There are plenty of them still in use today - as a Welshman I am aware of the fact (Welsh from wealh - foreigner)! Here are ten that as far as I am aware have remained completley unchanged these 1200 years and more.

1. Storm
2. Flint
3. Corn
4. Fox
5. Up
6. With
7. Great
8. Swift
9. Full
10. Land

Ten Commandments 01

This is my son. Someone in our church taught him to remember the commandments this way. He's got it more or less right. There are five to follow some time. (Sorry for the poor video quality).

EL Lunchtime lecture

There is a lunchtime lecture (12.30-1.30) next Monday at the Evangelical Library in Chiltern Street London, near Baker Street Tube. Bruce Jenkins is going to speak on John Newton -Disspelling some myths. Do come if you can. PS This is a nice relevant website

Hundred Texts 31-40

4th Ten
31. Genesis 6:5
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
32. Jeremiah 17:9,10
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
33. 1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
34. Isaiah 53:5,6
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
35. Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
36. 1 John 2:1,2
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
37. 2 Peter 1:21
for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
38. 1 Peter 2:2-5
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
39. John 15:15
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
40. 1 Corinthians 3:11
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

10 Songs about singers

This list was prompted by a question on University Challenge last night.

1. Duke Ellington (Sir Duke) - Stevie Wonder
2. Geno [Washington] - Dexy's Midnight Runners
(This Geno Washington is apparently not to be confused with Gino Washington another artiste)
3. Syd Barrett (Shine on you crazy diamond) - Pink Floyd
5. Paul McCartney - Scissor Sisters
6. John Lennon (All those years ago) - George Harrison
7. (Song for) Bob Dylan - David Bowie
8. (Song to) Woody [Guthrie] - Bob Dylan
9. Don McLean (Killing me softly with his song) - Roberta Flack
10. Kurt Cobain (Tearjerker) - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Another wedding

It was our joy to be at another wedding on Saturday. Paul Priest, one of my deacons, was marrying Philippa Knight in Bedford (giving up her knighthood to enter ... said her father!). It was a really good day with a good spirit. Congratulations! The preacher (Dave Harding, Milnrow, through whom Paul was converted many years ago) chose to preach evangelistically and spoke clearly about the wedding invitation. Great to meet old friends and some of the folk at Philippa's church.

Chimneys fall

I don't know why but there's something fascinating about this sort of footage.

Stone skipping record

I heard this man on the radio recently. Russell Byars' feat happened July 19. He estimated his stone travelled about 250 feet (76 meters). On the radio he set he only went into his first competition because his wife wanted him to win her a prize.
Before declaring him a record holder, Guinness World Records experts analysed film of his toss, checking the concentric circles in the water by each skip.
"I actually threw 40 stones that day, but that was the first skip that I threw," Byars told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper, which confirmed the record with Guinness officials.

What's your number?

There's one like this in Golders Green too. This one is in Bedford.
Weird thing, eh?

Hymn of the week 15

This is a W R Havergal 1793-1870 hymn that we san yesteray in a slightly updated version from New Christian Hymns. Havergal was father to the more famous Frances Ridley. For more on Havergal Senior see here.

In doubt and dread dismay,
'Midst superstition's gloom,
The heathen grope their way,
And joyless reach the tomb:
No holy light,
No balmy ray
Of gospel-day
Has bless'd their sight.

2 Then, Star of Life, arise!
And on thy healing wing,
With blood of sacrifice,
Thy great salvation bring:
Let heathen lands
Thy brightness see:
O set them free
From cruel bands.

3 With searching beam explore
The dark strong-holds of sin ;
And on the pris'ners pour
Transforming light within.
Bright Morning Star!
Unveil thy face,
And shed thy grace,
In realms afar.

4 O Jesu, Light of Life !
Arouse the world from sleep ;
Send love in place of strife,
And joy to those who weep.
Great King of kings !
Thy Spirit give;
Let Gentiles live
Beneath thy wings.

Hundred Texts 21-30

Third Ten
21. Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
22. John 3:3
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
23. John 6:35
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
24. Eph. 2:1
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins …
25. Luke 18:13
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!'
26. Heb. 7:25
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
27. John 16:13
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
28. Acts 17:11
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
29. Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
30. Luke 23:42,43
Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

10 American words we know

Someone said to me 'What about American words'? 'Sounds good' I said but we couldn't really think of any. There are plenty of American words we know that substitute for English ones and I''ll try and do red Indian words one day but what I want is words coined in America we now use here in England. I've found some. Are there others?

1. Blizzard
2. Hangover
3. Hindsight
4. Joyride
5. OK
6. Radio
7. Raincoat
8. Rattlesnake
9. Stunt
10. Teenager

(Perhaps one can mention airplane here, fast overtaking good old aeroplane)

Early October

Lunching with good friends,
The October sun shines down.
Paul's Greek, it's profound.

Lovely sunshine today. I went to West Hampstead for a bachelor lunch with one of my deacons and three other friends. He's getting married on Saturday.
I then went on to Finchley for some Greek studies at LTS. The class has mushroomed to eight which changed the dynamics, but it was good. Home via Golders Green with my camera. Church members meeting tonight.

Hundred Texts 11-20

11. Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12. Romans 5:1, 2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
13. Acts 16:29-31
Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
14. John 14:13,14
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
15. John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
16. John 4:24
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
17. 2 Timothy 3:15
… and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
18. Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
19. Acts 4:12
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
20. Luke 1:46,47
And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

10 Japanese words we know

1. Futon - Sofa that converts into a bed
2. Honcho - Squad leader US slang (so Head Honcho is really tautology)
3. Karaoke - Singing popular songs with recorded musical backing (I think it means empty orchestra. Many people are under the impression that the Japs came up with karaoke. In fact, the idea came from an Indian gentleman from Liverpool called Gerupta Singh)
4. Rickshaw - Man powered vehicle
5. Satsuma - A type of orange named after a province in Japan (Mandarins are Chinese I guess)
6. Sushi - A meal of cold rice sometimes garnished with raw fish
7. Origami - Japanese art of folding paper into intricate designs
8. Soy - A bean used as a meat substitute
9. Tsunami - Harbour wave, also known incorrectly as a "tidal wave"
10. Tycoon - Great lord, a wealthy businessman

Victor Valiant

Alan's set me off now. When I used to go to my nana's as a boy there would always be copies of The Victor and The Valiant around - waiting for my uncle (old enough to know better) to pick up. Tupper of the track, Captain Hurricane, Billy Bunter, etc. The Victor also had true stories from the war.
For more see here and here. As often said before t'internet is the place for nostalgia.

10 Hindi words we know

1 Bangle - Glass bracelet
2 Chutney - A side dish for food
3 Dungarees - In the singular a type of coarse cloth
4 Jodhpurs - Riding breeches named after their town of origin
5 Juggernaut - UK word for a large lorry, from "Juganath", the name of an Indian god whose image gets carried around the town in a huge cart once a year
6 Punch - five, as in the drink - from the five ingredients used
7 Pukka - ripe, used in the UK to mean "good" or "right"
8 Pundit - learned, as in a "sporting pundit". Used in the UK
9 Shampoo - massage
10 Thug - From a Hindu sect ("Thugees") that would kill people for the goddess, Kali