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.

10 Popular Songs that feature the Trumpet

1. All You Need is Love (The Beatles)
2. You can call me Al (Paul Simon)
3. Hello Dolly (Louis Armstrong)
4. Fanfare for the common man (ELP)
5. Red Light (U2)
6. Ghost Town (The Specials)
7. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (The Andrews Sisters)
8. Rain drops keep falling on my head (B J Thomas)
9. Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
10. In the midnight hour (Wilson Pickett)


We have just one boy at home this week so it has been fairly quiet. We went the other night to see the latest Tarzan film (The Legend of Tarzan) and enjoyed it. The state of CGI ability by this time is so great that it is difficult to resist its lure. It is well used in this film, which also has a penchant for what I assume is accurate historical background. It certainly appears to play true to the Burroughs original and has a good hero and heroine, a believable storyline and a decent villain (though he could have been worse - ie better).

Midweek Meeting Wednesday July 27 2016

We had a very good turn out last Wednesday. One person present has just moved to a place near London, where it appears they don't have a formal midweek meeting in the summer months so she came to us. I did a one off from Job 28 which had been one mind. It is a wonderful chapter and is a reminder of how central is the fear of the Lord. We were praying for camps and beach missions and many other things. Always lots to pray about.

10 Final Barrel Scraping Welshed Songs

1. Dancing Queensferry
2. Sympathy for Drefelin
3. I've got you under my Skewen
4. Somewhere over Rhiwabon
5. Life on Marros
6. Ring my six bells
7. Knock on Blackwood
8. Sweet home Alltablaca
9. Classical Glascoed
10. (Tell me why) I don't like Monmouth

10 Popular songs that feature the mandolin

1. REM Losing my religion
2. Rod Stewart Maggie May
3. Steve Earle Copperhead Road
4. Yes, Wonderous stories
5. Shawn Colvin Sonny came home
6. Soggy Bottom Boys Man of constant sorrow
7. Lindisfarne Lady Eleanor
8. Kinks Supersonic Rocket Ship
9. Horslips Dearg Doom
10. McGuinness Flint Dead and gone

10 Jazz Trumpeters

1. Louis Armstrong 1901-1971
2. Bix Beiderbecke 1903-1931
3. Nat Gonella 1908-1988
4. Dizzie Gillespie 1917-1993
5. Humphrey Littleton 1921-2008
6. Miles Davis 1926-1991
7. Chet Baker 1929-1988
8. Kenny Ball 1930-2013
9. Herb Alpert b 1935
10. Wynton Marsalis b 1961
(Not a big interest of mine but this film about Chet Baker is coming out soon)

A childhood memory

I began my preaching yesterday evening with an anecdote from childhood.  It is from the days of cigarettes and fireplaces. It is of my nana or grandmother (my dad's mam) leaning over the open coal fire at home and burning the edge of the white tissue paper on the back of the foil from a packet of her cigarettes (Gold Flake or Kensitas she used to smoke – lots of people smoked in those days). She was then able to peel the white paper from the foil and add it to her collection of silver paper.
Lots of people collected silver paper in those days, in the sixties. My other nana who didn't smoke was collecting it too. The silver foil was sold to companies who would use it tin the steel making process. The money they paid for it was used by charities seeking to help the blind.
There was quite a high awareness of the needs of the blind then. My parents and grandparents were especially concerned about toxacariasis, which can be caught from dog faeces, if the dog has ring worm. They always seemed to be reading about cases where children had become blind by this means.

10 more Marian martyrs

In a footnote Ryle mentions other martyrs worthy of special note. He lists 13 but we will narrow it down to ten
1. Laurence Saunders, Coventry
2. William Hunter, Brentwood
3. Rawlins White, Cardiff
4. George Marsh, Chester
5. Thomas Hawkes, Coggeshall
6. John Bland, Canterbury
7. Agnes Prest, Exeter
8. Rose Allen, Colchester
9. Joan Waste, Derby
10. Richard Woodman, Lewes
(The other three are Alice Driver, Ipswich; Julius Palmer, Newbury; John Noyes, Laxfield)

10 Marian Martyrs

These are ten J C Ryle mentions in his essay Why were our reformers burned?. See here.
1. John Rogers, a London Minister burned in Smithfield on Monday, February 4, 1555. Rogers was a man who, in one respect, had done more for the cause of Protestantism than any of his fellow-sufferers. In saying this I refer to the fact that he had assisted Tyndale and Coverdale in bringing out a most important version of the English Bible, a version commonly known as Matthews' Bible. Indeed, he was condemned as "Rogers, alias Matthews."
2. John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester. He was burned at Gloucester on Friday, February 9, 1555. Hooper was perhaps, the noblest martyr of them all. Of all Edward VI's bishops, none has left behind him a higher reputation for personal holiness, and diligent preaching and working in his diocese. None, judging from his literary remains, had clearer and more Scriptural views on all points in theology. Some might say that he was too Calvinistic; but he was not more so than the Thirty-nine Articles.
3. Rowland Taylor, Rector of Hadleigh, in Suffolk. He was burned on Aldham Common, close to his own parish, the same day that Hooper died at Gloucester. Rowland Taylor is one of whom we know little, except that he was a great friend of Cranmer, and a doctor of divinity and canon law. But that he was a man of high standing among the Reformers is evident, from his being ranked by his enemies with Hooper, Rogers, and Bradford.
4. Robert Ferrar, Bishop of St. David's, in Wales. He was burned at Carmarthen on Friday, March 30, 1555. Little is known of this good man beyond the fact that he was born at Halifax, and was the last Prior of Nostel, in Yorkshire, an office which he surrendered in 1540. He was also Chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer, and to this influence he owed his elevation to the Episcopal bench.
5, 6. John Bradford, Prebendary of St. Paul's, and Chaplain to Bishop Ridley. He was burned in Smithfield on Monday, July 1, 1555, at the early age of thirty-five. With him, a young man called John Leaf was also burned. Few of the English martyrs, perhaps, are better known than Bradford, and none certainly deserve better their reputation. Strype calls Bradford, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer - the "four prime pillars" of the Reformed Church of England.
7, 8. Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer, once Bishop of Worcester. They were both burned at Oxford, back to back, at one stake, on the 16th of October, 1555. Ridley's last words before the fire was lighted were these, "Heavenly Father, I give You most hearty thanks that You have called me to a profession of You even unto death. I beseech You, Lord God, have mercy on this realm of England, and deliver the same from all her enemies." Latimer's last words were like the blast of a trumpet, which rings even to this day, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day, by God's grace, light such a candle in England as I trust shall never be put out!" When the flames began to rise, Ridley cried out with a loud voice in Latin, "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit! Lord, receive my spirit," and afterwards repeated these last words in English. Latimer cried as vehemently on the other side of the stake, "Father of Heaven, receive my soul."
9. John Philpot, Archdeacon of Winchester. He was burned in Smithfield on Wednesday, December 18, 1555. Philpot is one of the martyrs of whom we know little comparatively, except that he was born at Compton, in Hampshire, was of good family, and well connected, and had a very high reputation for learning. The mere fact that at the beginning of Mary's reign he was one of the leading champions of Protestantism in the mock discussions which were held in Convocation, is sufficient to show that he was no common man.
10. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. He was burned at Oxford, on March 21, 1556. There is no name among the English martyrs so well known in history as his. There is none certainly in the list of our Reformers to whom the Church of England, on the whole, is so much indebted. He was only a mortal man, and had his weaknesses and infirmities, it must be admitted; but still, he was a great man, and a good man.

Lord's Day, July 24 2016

I preached another one off last Lord's Day morning - on Hebrews 10:23-25. Despite my pleas there seemed to be no more present in the evening nor did most seem less lacadaisical about time. There are many away at the moment so things are a little unpredictable. In the evening (when we carried on in Matthew 9) an Israeli man was there at the beginning. He didn't stick around. I also noticed a local Swedish man who likes to talk present at one point but soon gone. When the service was over an East European couple put their head around the door (he was Croatian, she from Kyrghyzstan). At least three friends (Ghanaian and Iranian) who arrived just after the sermon in the morning did stay.

In Writing 128

In Writing 128 the Library's official magazine is now out. Apologies for the protracted delay.

Back in the high life again

This is nice - Steve Winwood on mandolin

Carey Conference 2017

Double click to read. The conference is in Swanwick.

Jim Packer 90 today

See this note from Sam Storms here

10 Singers whose fathers were ministers

1. Alice Cooper (Mormon)
2. Marvin Gaye (House of God)
3. Katy Perry (Pentecostal)
4. Wyclef Jean (Church of the Nazarene)
5. Marcus Mumford (Vineyard)
6. Nat King Cole (Baptist)
7. Aretha Franklin (Baptist)
8. Sam Cooke (Church of Christ [holiness])
9. Tori Amos (Methodist)
10. Jonas Brothers (AoG Pentecostal)

10 Literary Greats whose fathers were ministers

1. Jane Austen (Anglican Rector)
2. Pearl S Buck (Presbyterian missionary to China)
3. John Buchan (FC of S minister)
4. Lewis Carroll [Samuel Lutwidge Dodgson] (Anglican cleric)
5. Stephen Crane (Methodist Episcopal minister)
6. Elizabeth Gaskell (Unitarian minister)
7. Dorothy L Sayers (Anglican cleric)
8. Harriet Beecher Stowe (Presbyterian minister)
9. Charlotte Bronte (Anglican Rector)
10. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Anglican Rector)

Midweek Meeting July 20 2016

We were a good number again last week with 12 or 13 present (two left before the prayer time and one came only for the prayer time). It was good to have two regulars back and two or three visitors. We went back to 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 and looked at two related subjects - the settling of the New testament canon and Calvin on the Inward witness of the Spirit. I used John Piper's book on Scripture A Peculiar glory which I have been enjoying dipping into. You could probably do more n this but I think we'll leave it there and  do something else next week. We had a good time of prayer.

10 national leaders whose fathers were ministers

1. Gordon Brown (son of a Presbyterian minister)
2. Theresa May (daughter of an Anglican vicar)
3. Woodrow Wilson (son of a Presbyterian minister)
4. Grover Cleveland (son of a Presbyterian Minister)
5. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia (son of a Presbyterian minister and missionary)
6. Lester B Pearson Canada (son of a Methodist minister)
7. Sir Charles Tupper Canada (son of a Baptist pastor)
8. Slobadan Milosevic of Serbia (son of a Serbian Orthodox Priest)
9. Angela Merkel Germany (daughter of an Evangelical pastor)
10. Aaron Burr US Vice-president (son of a Presbyterian minister)

Two recent autobiographical books

Two books have recently appeared from EP (my own publisher) by older contemporaries, both of whom I know to speak to. The two books are quite different but both have an autobiographical thread. One is by a known author one by a first time author.
The first is by author Faith Cook and is called And so I began to read .... Starting when Faith Cook was still a child it seeks to chart her reading experience, chiefly with Christian books such as selected works of Jonathan Edwards, The Reformation in England by D'Aubigne, Spurgeon's own autobiography and Hallesby on prayer, etc. Nearly all of the books I knew of or had read but there were one or two that had passed me by. Faith Cook talks not only about the books content but about reading and the Christian life and so on. Just over a hundred pages long it makes a nice short and stimulating read,
Basil Howlett's 1966 and all that: an evangelical journey is more conventional in many ways but its chief concern is not to recount Basil's story but to present an apologia for the path he has followed in leaving the Baptist Union and becoming an FIEC minister. He writes very warmly of Dr Lloyd-Jones whose views he is seeking to defend and make known again. This backfires slightly for me at one point (p 39) where he gives an example of what he thinks is a brilliant answer from Lloyd-Jones but what I fear shows both a poor theological grasp and a facetiousness that would have been better forgotten. That aside this is a are book seeking to explain the position of independent ministers like myself. Slightly longer, this book is only a little over a hundred pages and can be quickly read.

10 People still alive today

1. Mikhail Gorbachev (85)
2. Jerry Lewis (90)
3. Doris Day (92)
4. Henry Kissinger (93)
5. Richard Adams (96)
6. Billy Graham (97)
7. Vera Lynn (99)
8. Kirk Douglas (99)
9. Zsa Zsa Gabor (99)
10. Olivia de Havilland (100)
See here for more like this

Dewi Graduates

It was great to be in Swansea earlier this week for Dewi's graduation. The ceremony was well done given the restraints. It was very Welsh. Amazingly it didn't mention God or anything to do with the world to come once. It's quite an achievement in some ways. It is right to celebrate a graduation formally, nevertheless. The ceremony took place in the new main hall on the spanking new bay campus. It was good to meet again with the family of Tom who Dewi was in primary school with and who was also graduating. Dewi's fiancée Esther was also with us.

All the way from America

This is the track that got me thinking about 12 string guitars

10 Popular Songs that feature the 12 string guitar

1 A horse with no name (America)
2 Turn turn turn (Byrds)
3 Hotel California (Eagles)
4 Give a little bit (Supertramp)
5 Free fallin' (Tom Petty)
6 Stairway to heaven (Led Zeppelin)
7 Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
8 Space Oddity (Davi Bowie)
9 More than a feeling (Boston)
10 Pinball Wizard (The Who)

Lord's Day, July 17 2016

We're in the summer months now when people are coming and going and so I decided to drop our morning studies in Nehemiah now until Autumn. I preached on Isaiah 26:3, 4. I had preached on those verses six years ago but thought I'd come back to them again. One strange things is that whereas last time I preached it, I took half an hour but even having beefed it up for this time I was all done in under 25 minutes. There are lots of mysteries in preaching. (It is the shortest sermon I have preached this year. The longest came in at 46:12 and was on Rev I3. That's a whopping 22' 54" difference). In the evening I was again under half hour, preaching from Matthew 9:20-22. Before the evening meeting we met for communion. That was okay except we sang the wrong song. No problem, it was just as appropriate. Our numbers were not too bad at both services, though several are away.  We had one or two visitors of different sorts, including someone who had been only once before but has returned.

Midweek Meeting July 13 2016

We were back up to 10 people last Wednesday partly because a man turning up who comes often on Sunday but who has never been midweek before. It was a good stand alone text to be looking at - 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. This is the very first text I preached on when I began my ministry here all those years ago. We also spent time in prayer, of course. A good time.

Iss Smee

We had our annual fancy dress in the garden last Saturday celebrating Sibyl and Gwilym's birthdays. Peter Pan was the theme and I went as Smee. Great fun.

10 more songs welshed

1. First cwm is the deepest
2. Whitchurch Lineman
3. Waunarlwydd Sunset
5. Living next door to Alaw
6. I just don't know what to do with Maesteg
7. Stairway to Hirwaun
8. Living in the love of the Corwen people
9. Llawnt will tear us apart
10. I heard it through the Pontfaen
(Bonus if you're clued in Wye and McArthur Glen)

10 Books that J C Ryle read and commended

1. John Foxe's Acts and monuments 1554-1838
("a book which all churchmen in these days ought to study" Hugh Latimer, Bishop and martyr)
2. John Bunyan Pilgrims' Progress 1678
(“I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.” The fallibility of ministers)
3. Matthew Poole Annotations on the whole Bible 1685-1700
(Poole’s “Annotations” are sound, clear, and sensible; and, taking him for all in all, I place him at the head of English Commentators on the whole Bible." Expository thoughts on John's Gospel)
4. Matthew Henry Complete Commentary 1708-1710
("Matthew Henry is generally rich in pious thoughts and pleasing illustrations, and sometimes exhibits more learning and acquaintance with books, than he is commonly credited with." Expository thoughts on John's Gospel)
5. John Newton Cardiphonia 1781
6. William Wilberforce's Practical View 1797
7. Thomas Scott Reply to Bishop Tomline 1811
8. Joseph Milner Church History 1812
9. Edward Bickersteth Christian Student 1829
10. John Angell James' Christian Professor 1837
(The last six are mentioned by Iain Murray in his new biography of Ryle as those that helped Ryle most early on. The list is from the earlier Toon and Mout biography)

Lord's Day July 10, 2016

So it was Nehemiah 4, chiefly on opposition, and the next bit in Matthew 9, the raising of the synagogue leader's daughter (I left out the woman with the issue of blood for another time). We had tea together at five. It was encouraging to have visitors - family and others, including towards the end of the evening service three girls who have been coming to out Friday night club. I was also encouraged that one man who was very late fro the morning tried us again in the evening and came in good time. The preaching was okay but perhaps could have done with a bit more work on the parallel passages for the evening message. Quite a few are away still and lots of possibles missing too.

Westminster Conference 2017

Double click to read

10 Ancient Testimonies to Limited Atonement

These ten ancient testimonies are given in an appendix at the end of John Owen's The death of death in the death of Christ
I. The confession of the holy Church of Smyrna, a little after the commendation given it by the Holy Ghost, Rev. ii. 9, upon the martyrdom of Polycarpus:
“Neither can we ever forsake Christ, him who suffered for the salvation of the world of them that are saved, nor worship any other.” [It is an extract from a letter of the church of Smyrna to the churches of Pontus, giving an account of the martyrdom of Polycarp.]
II. The witness of holy Ignatius, as he was carrying to Rome from Antioch, to be cast to beasts for the testimony of Jesus:
“This is the way leading to the Father, this the rock, the fold, the key; he is the shepherd, the sacrifice; the door of knowledge, by which entered Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the whole company of prophets, and the pillars of the world, the apostles, and the spouse of Christ; for whom, instead of a dowry, he poured out his own blood, that he might redeem her.” [AD 107]
Surely Jesus Christ gives not a dowry for any but his own spouse.
III. Clemens, “whose name is in the book of life,” Phil. iv. 3, with the whole church at Rome in his days, in the epistle to the church of Corinth
“For the love which he had unto us, he gave his blood for us, according to his purpose, and his flesh for our flesh, and his life for our lives.”
Where you have assigned, 1. The cause of Christ’s death, — his love to us; 2. The object of it, — us, or believers; 3. The manner how he redeemed us, even by commutation. This triple testimony is taken from the very prime of undoubted antiquity.
IV. Cyprian, to Cæcilius, a holy, learned, and famous martyr, AD 250:
“He bare all us, who bare our sins;”
That is, he sustained their persons on the cross for whom he died.
The same to Demetrian
“This grace hath Christ communicated, subduing death in the trophy of his cross, redeeming believers with the price of his blood.”
The same, or some other ancient and pious writer of the cardinal works of Christ. The same author also, in express terms, mentions the sufficiency of the ransom paid by Christ, arising from the dignity of his person “Of so great dignity was the oblation of our Redeemer, that it alone was sufficient to take away the sins of the world.”
V. Cyril of Jerusalem, [AD 350]
“Wonder not if the whole world be redeemed; for he was not a mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God that died. If, then, through the eating of the tree” (forbidden) “they were cast out of paradise, certainly now by the tree” (or cross) “of Jesus shall not believers more easily enter into paradise?” So also doth another of them make it manifest in what sense they use the word all..
VI. Athanasius, of the incarnation of the Word of God [AD. 350]:
“He is the life of all, and as a sheep he delivered his body a price for the souls of all, that they might be saved.” All in both places can be none but the elect; as,
VII. Ambrose or rather, Prosper,  [AD 370]
 “The people of God hath its own fulness. In the elect and foreknown, distinguished from the generality of all, there is accounted a certain special universality; so that the whole world seems to be delivered from the whole world, and all men to be taken out of all men.”
In which place he proceedeth at large to declare the reasons why, in this business, “all” and “the world” are so often used for “some of all sorts.”
These that follow wrote after the rising of the Pelagian heresy, which gave occasion to more diligence of search and wariness of expression than had formerly been used by some.
IX. Augustine, [AD. 420]:
“By him the Mediator, the Lord declareth himself to make those whom he hath redeemed with his blood, of evil, good to eternity.”
“Christ will possess what he bought; he bought it with such a price that he might possess it.”
“He that bought us with such a price will have none perish whom he hath bought.”
“He often calleth the church itself by the name of the world; as in that, ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;’ and that, ‘The Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.’ And John in his epistle saith, ‘We have an Advocate, and he is the propitiation for [our sins, and not for ours only, but also for] the sins of the whole world.’ The whole world, therefore, is the church, and the world hateth the church. The world, then, hateth the world; that which is at enmity, the reconciled; the condemned, the saved; the polluted, the cleansed world. And that world which God in Christ reconcileth to himself, and which is saved by Christ, is chosen out of the opposite, condemned, defiled world.” Much more to this purpose might be easily cited out of Augustine, but his judgment in these things is known to all.
IX. Prosper [AD. 440]:
“He is not crucified with Christ who is not a member of the body of Christ. When, therefore, our Saviour is said to be crucified for the redemption of the whole world, because of his true assumption of the human nature, yet may he be said to be crucified only for them unto whom his death was profitable. Diverse from these is their lot who are reckoned amongst them of whom it is said, ‘The world knew him not.’ ”
“Doubtless the propriety of redemption is theirs from whom the prince of this world is cast out. The death of Christ is not to be so laid out for human-kind, that they also should belong unto his redemption who were not to be regenerated.”
“If there be none whom God would not have redeemed, why are not all saved?”
X. Council held at Valence [AD 855]
“The price of the death of Christ is given for them alone of whom the Lord himself said, ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish.’ ”

10 More Tennis Terms

I should say I'm relying again on info found here.
1. ATP
Association of Tennis Professionals. The ATP are the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit. (The women have the WTA).
2. Baseline Tennis
Lleyton Hewitt is the perfect example, as he is a Baseliner. It simply means that players remain on the baseline (at the rear of the court) during a rally. This method of trying to win points can be tiring, but a good Baseliner will either wear down an opponent or set them up for passing shot.
3. Double Fault
If the server fails to serve correctly on both 1st and 2nd serves this is called a Double Fault. The server then loses this point.
4. Foot Fault
Where the server puts his foot onto or over the Baseline before hitting the ball. If performed on a 1st serve, you will only have your 2nd serve remaining. If performed on your 2nd serve you lose the point.
5. Golden Set
A set of tennis which is won 6-0 without dropping a single point. Only one player in the history of professional tennis has ever achieved this, Bill Scanlon (USA). It was against Marcos Hocevar (Brazil) in the first round of the WCT Gold Coast Classic at Del Ray (Florida, USA) on 22 February 1983. Bill Scanlon won the match 6-2, 6-0.
6. Grand Slam
To win all 4 of major tennis tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) in one season you are said to have won the Grand Slam. Therefore, the 4 major tournaments are also known as Grand Slam events.
7. Let (or Net)
Called to announce that a point is to be replayed. A common example is when a serve clips the top of the net but still lands correctly in the court.
8. Rubber
A term used in the Davis Cup, which essentially means a "heat" or a "leg". The Davis Cup consists of one Doubles Rubber and four Singles Rubbers. As an example, if you win the first Singles match, you have won a Rubber or a Singles Rubber.
9. Show Court (Showcourt)
A tennis court which is the one of the most prized of all to play on or to spectate on. For example, at Wimbledon the show courts are Centre Court, No.1 Court, and No.2 Court.
10. Tie break
This method is used to determine the winner of a Set once the score in Games is 6-6. See Rules Of Tennis (Brief) for full details. There is a Champions Tie Break variant that is sometimes used.

Midweek Meeting Wednesday July 6 2016

It was hard to shut out thoughts of the game last night and get along to prayer meeting. I found it more difficult than I expected, This after all is uncharted territory. We did our best. We were fairly low in numbers as it turned out (nine again I think) but just as much to pray for as ever. First, we looked at 2 Timothy 3:14, 15. I thought I'd keep 3:16, 17 for another time. I did consult John Piper's recent book on Scripture A peculiar glory and found it helpful though little of it could easily be used with these verses. By the time we got back home it was all over for Wales, 2-0 down. I'm not sure if I'm sorry to have missed it or not. Being in the final would have been great but unlikely.

Wales heading home at last

I didn't see most of the game. It was more or less over by the time I got home. Portugal 2 Wales 0. We seem to have given them a game. Da iawn Cymru!

10 Tennis shot terms

I'm not watching Wimbledon but it's all around me. You've got to know the terminology.
1. Ace
A serve where the receiver fails to return or even touch the ball. The point is won by the server.
2. Approach Shot
Usually occurs when a ball is hit short of the baseline. The receiving player then moves forward to the ball and places it deep in his/her opponents court, while continue moving forward to the net in order to kill off the point with a volley.
3. Drive
A powerful shot using a bit of Topspin. Common as a passing shot down the line to leave your opponent scrambling for the ball.
4. Drop Shot
You need to use a lot of Backspin to perform this shot. It is a more severe version of a Slice, in that the idea is to get the ball just over the net and stop almost immediately just after the net without much bounce.
5. Ground Strokes
Any type of shot (Forehand and Backhand) across the net where the ball bounces.
6. Half-volley
To hit the tennis ball immediately after it has come off the ground, so you're hitting the ball on it's upward bounce.
7. Lob
To hit the ball over your opponents head using a lot of Topspin. Best played when your opponent is at the net.
8. Overhead Smash
A shot played above the head, hitting the ball downwards, hard and fast into your opponents side of the court
9. Passing Shot
A shot played down the line while your opponent is close to the net, but is unable to return.
10. Slice
You use Backspin to perform this type of shot. Often used as a defensive shot to return fast served ball deep into your opponents court and slow the game down. Similar in execution to the Drop Shot.

10 Songs Welshed

  1. Llanvair Discoed Inferno
  2. You've really got a Mold on me
  3. Too much Monknash business
  4. A taste of Rhymney
  5. Bodelwyddan Rhapsody
  6. Pontyclun Pam (or Why Pontyclun?)
  7. Hotel Caledrhydiau
  8. Rolling in the sheep
  9. Glanamman Style
  10. By'ere, By there, Everywhere
(As seen on twitter)

Lord's Day July 3 2016

I knew there would be lots of people away yesterday. As it turned out there were more away than I thought but visitors morning and evening made up for that a little. We began with communion, looking at Psalm 22. In the morning service I preached on Nehemiah 3. It wasn't until I actually read it in public that I realised that it must be one of the most difficult chapters in Scripture. At least I'd printed out a map showing all the gates with a reference to each one so there was some hope of following progress. The sermon, I hope was much easier to follow. I was conscious of a lady in the congregation who rarely comes, there with her family who come form time to time. In the evening two different younger women had looked us up on the internet and decided to come. I was a little anxious but we seemed to be what they were looking for so I hope we see them again soon. I preached from Matthew 9 and on fasting and more. I was a little brief perhaps. As ever, there were lots of others missing for various reasons, some not always apparent.

Divide by Kathleen Dolmatch

I saw this in my newspaper today

Two lovely folk songs

I heard these two songs on my ipod earlier today. Worth sharing I reckon.


Wales 3 Belgium 1!! Not just a win but an amazing win. Da iawn Cymru! Portugal next!
Does this win make us the best team in the world?

Three Short Novels

I have recently read three short novels. The first I found on my book shelves, one I bought in an independent bookshop (Daunt's in Hampstead) and the most recent I got from a charity shop in Golders Green for a pound.
A kestrel for a knave by Barry Hines was published in 1968. Set in a mining area (only ever referred to as "the City") it tells of Billy Casper, a young working class boy troubled at home and at school, who only finds solace when he finds and trains a kestrel whom he names "Kes". The book was made into a film Kes which I have never seen and is a favourite for often used in Key Stage 4 kids doing GCSE English. The book is so named because of a poem found in the Boke of St Albans. In medieval England, the only bird a knave was legally allowed to keep was a kestrel. Someone told me the main character is based in part on his own brother, by now an expert on birds of prey. It was nice to be taken back to my own childhood in much of the description. The book is fairly well written but smacks of a writing class approach that describes everything in careful detail, leaving nothing to the imagination and striking similes and metaphors that pall in the end. (One kid perceptively wrote "Everything are just so hard to understand esp with the fact that the book is overflows with similes and metaphors. Too much of something is never too good.)
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald was written ten years later and deals with a much more middle class setting in East Anglia in 1959. A much less sad book, it was an easier read and a much more mature literary approach. Some witty little phrases lurk such as this - "She was in appearance small, wispy, and wiry, somewhat insignificant from the front view, and totally so from behind". It was Booker shortlisted. Good stuff and worth the money.
If I had to rank these three I would put the Isaac Bashevis Singer first. This was published in 1983. The Penitent was originally published in installments in The Jewish Daily Forward (1973) with the Yiddish title of Der Baal Tshuve. The English translation was made by Joseph Singer for Farrar Straus & Giroux. It tells the story of Joseph Shapiro, emigrating from Poland in 1939 and from USSR in 1945 to the USA in 1947, where he becomes rich and involved with consumerism and lust. He decides to leave everything, including his job, his wife and his lover, and finally expatriate to Israel, where he wonders about the traditional values of Jewish culture. For any serious Christian, it is  a fascinating way to consider worldliness and related subjects. It is full of interesting quotations. For example “A soldier who serves an emperor has to have a uniform, and this also applies to a soldier who serves the Almighty."
All three novelists are no longer living.

Battle of the Somme

As most will be aware, today is the one hundredth anniversary of the first day of The Battle of the Somme or the Somme Offensive, a First World War battle between the British and French empires and the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France. It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
Initial plans called for the French army to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). When the Imperial German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, French commanders diverted many of the divisions intended for the Somme and the "supporting" attack by the British became the principal effort.
The first day on the Somme was the worst day in the history of the British army, which suffered 57,470 casualties, mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack was defeated and few British troops reached the German front line.
The British troops on the Somme comprised a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, the Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army, which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations. Among these latter conscripts was my grandfather, William Brady, born in Bilston but by then living in Newport, South Wales.  He was of Irish ancestry and a Roman Catholic. There is a photograph somewhere from 1914 of my grandfather in a ragtime band. In 1916, aged 21, he was conscripted to the life guards and soon found himself at the Somme. I have no details of what happened, although I believe he was injured and may well have been gassed at this time.
Debate continues over the necessity, significance and effect of the battle. I am simply glad my grandfather survived. Following the war he looked for a job. Apparently, he was spotted in an unemployment queue by an officer (my grandfather was 6' 4" and not easy to miss) and efforts were made to secure him a job in the steel industry. He spent the rest of his working life in Lysaght's as a steel checker. Remembrance Day was always an important day and he was very involved in the local British Legion. Nine years after the Somme he married my Bristol born, Newport based Protestant grandmother. They soon had my father, who was followed by four other children. He died in 1978, aged 83.

(The 119th Brigade, originally the Welsh Bantam Brigade, was an infantry brigade formation, part of Kitchener's New Armies. It served in the 40th Division on the Western Front. It was formed in Newport and may well have been my grandfather's brigade.)

Free John Owen ebook

If you are quick you can get this John Owen ebook from Crossway for free. Link here.