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.

Lord's day April 28 2019

So the final Sunday of the month saw us looking again at Acts and Matthew 25. In the morning it was the interesting story of Eutychus who fell out of the window and in the evening the sobering parable of the sheep and the goats. In the morning one of my deacons gave another talk on John Paton, which was good but slightly long After the morning service we sang happy birthday to one of our members who recently turned 50. Spurgeon says somewhere that he gave up counting numbers years ago. I haven't and so in the evening service the change from there being eight of us, as there were at the start, to that of there being thirteen of us was slightly traumatic.

Freak Alley, Boise

With my boys in Boise

Still processing the America Trip.
This one goes with "with my nieces in Nice" from way back. See here.

10 Comedians said to be atheists and David Bowie fans

Correlation is not causation but I think this list is correct.

1. Ricky Gervais
2. David Baddiel
3. Robin Ince
4. Steve Coogan
5. Eddie Izzard
6. David Schneider
7. Jimmy Carr
8. Ben Elton
9. Dom Joly
10. Tim Minchin

 As for Bowie himself, he seems never to have gone for full on atheism. He apparently once said when interviewed "... I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s that little bit that holds on: Well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months."
PS Not an atheist or a Bowie fan.

Pearl & The Puppets - Because I Do

Came across this song a while ago. Sorry it is not better known.

Preview for tomorrow April 28 2019

Midweek Meeting April 24 2019

Bit late with this but it was good to be with seven others on Wednesday to pray and to look at the last part of James 2, one of the most famous passages in the book. All those present are familiar with the issues between how James and Romans read and so it was good to get beyond that to the matter of good deeds. We all felt challenged. Lot to pray for too. Good to be back.

Day off Week 17 2019

This week's day off included phoning, waiting for and receiving the electrician at home, which went off okay. I also caught up on University Challenge, including the final, won by Edinburgh. In the evening Eleri and I watched a bit of TV. In the afternoon I slipped down to the National Portrait Gallery where they currently have an exhibition of Tudor and Jacobean miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. I knew of Hilliard but not Oliver, his protege. Great exhibition (£10 a go; the hardback catalogue is £35, hint hint). I'd seen Hilliard's miniatures of Drake and Raleigh but not the ones of Elizabeth I, certainly not the one where she plays the lute. Also getting on with Mark Meynell's book on depression, which is our next book for the reading group. Not sure what to make of it yet.

Death of Best Drummer who turned down The Beatles

The recent death recorded here recalls another bit of The Beatles story and is another reminder that the race is not to the swift. See here.

GT on DMLl-J

Good link here. Geoff Thomas is being interviewed about Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Films recently viewed

Having been on a plane again recently I've been watching films again. One or two I watched elsewhere. I enjoyed  First man about Neil Armstrong. There ought to be a film on such a subject as potentially dull as it is. It was done well enough. I liked the way it revealed the opposition to the project, the deaths on the way and how primitive the technology clearly was. I liked the bit when a fly got into the spaceraft.
The Favourite about Queen Anne wasn't as bad as I had feared. Christopher Robin and Mary Poppins Returns were as unremarkable as people say. The former just didn't quite work (one animated creature among real people, as in the Paddington films works but not everal animated creatures alongside one real man). 'm not a fan of musicals anyway. A Star is Born is okay and made me admire Lady Gaga who I have tried to ignore previously. I have not seen previous versions of the story. In theory any number if films could be made on the theme successful starfinds new talent who becomes successful.
We watched On the basis of sex which I knew little about. I noticed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is very popular in the USA at the moment. I assume the film is basically true but it is clearly presented with an angle. RBG was a feminist who got sorted a ridiculous set of patriarchal views that arch-conservatives defended all the way. Probably not that simple. A law stopping females being sent down coal mines sounds like a good law to me but I can see why some feminists would object.
I also watched a new version of Fahrenheit 451 which caught the spirit well but introduced a needless love angle. The idea that all books are good is also nonsense and some of them would be better burnt, sadly. Thsi comes out perhaps when one of the people who memorise books turns out to have memorised Chairman Mao's Red Book. I'm not sure what is in that book exactly but if Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun is any guide I'm not keen.
The other film we watched was 100 foot journey a nice film about an Indian hef who makes it big in France. Just very well done.
I alos watched a Van ogh film but I'll mention that elsewhere.

10 American Restaurants Recently Visited

Our best meals on our recent trip to America were eaten in people's homes. No restaurant can match that. However, we did enjoy several places - burger joints, ethnic places, an ice cream parlour and a breakfast place.

1. In 'n' Out
2. Five Guys
3. Chik-Fil-A
4. Panda Express
5. Meraki
6. Chipotle
7. Cold Stone
8. Donut Daze
9. Waffle me up
10. Cheesecake Factory
(Also MacDonald's and Wendy's)

Lord's Day April 21 2019

It was good to be back in Childs Hill on Sunday. It being Easter Sunday I preached on the resurrection - from John 20 in the morning and Luke 24 in the evening. I wish I had chosen to go more into the implications of the resurrection in at least one sermon. Loved singing some of those good old Easter hymns. We must try some more next week. We had a good turn out in the morning, though the evening was small as usual, with only six at the communion beforehand. Having been away I was struck by the diversity of our congregation. It is quite remarkable, covering all the continents as it does. The warm weather prompted African dress, mostly from some of the older men and women in the congregation. Not many away. Two American couples on vacation who I had never met joined us. They were from Washington State, just north of Portland, and had found us on the web.

If I had wings

On Freak Alley in Boise
(Artist Hannah Buekels. She references Isaiah 40:1 - we'll say more on that in a later post I hope).

Doing what Americans do

This picture taken today has me doing what Americans do
(courtesy of Jobyand Hannah)

10 Good Places to be In(n)

Years ago when we used to pass a Holiday Inn I would say to my wife, that would be a nice place to spend a Holiday In(n). She never used to get it. Here are 10 more puns based on the same idea. (I know but it's out of my system now).

1. That's a nice place to have a Holiday In(n)
2. That's a nice place to spend a few Days In(n)
3. That's a nice place to spend a few Knights In(n)
4. That's a nice place to take up Residence In(n)
5. That's a nice place to grab some Comfort In(n)
6. That's a nice place to put up a Premier In(n)
7. That's a nice place to Sleep In(n)
8. That's a nice place to spend all Four Seasons In(n)
9. That's a nice place to Stay In(n)
10. That's a nice place to find some Quality In(n)

Lord's Day April 14 2019

We are in Boise Idaho at the present visiting our son. We attended on Sunday the church he has been attending, The Well. Church website here. The premises are on an out of town retail site and are nothing to look at but once inside it is a good building, catering for church and other activities.
As is usual in the States we began with Sunday School. This was led by elder Arlan Roest, looking at Question 29 of the New City Catechism (How can I be saved? Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him). See here.
The main service was led by another elder, Sean Cope and the preacher was the pastor Josh Bale. The music was the usual drums, etc combo on stage (not sure why they need to be in full view). He is working through 2 Peter and has reached Chapter 3. He spoke on millennialism, explaining the different views and advocating an amillennial one. We have known about this church for many years as a family member is a big fan so it was good to finally be there. The church is a young church with about a hundred adults and a hundred children or so. The Reformed faith is perhaps quite weak in this part of the world and it is good to see at least one church (there are others) teaching such things.

10 Famous Idahoans

1. Wyatt Earp
2. Ezra Pound
3. Ernest Hemingway
4. Lillian Disney
5. Paul Revere (of and the Raiders pop fame)
6. Dick Fosbury
7. Lana Turner
8. Sacagawea
9. Albert Albertson
10. Sarah Palin

10 Types of penguin

There are as many as 26 different types of penguin, Here are ten

1. Emperor
2. King
3. Chinstrap
4. Macaroni
5. (Northern, Southern and Eastern) Rockhopper
6. Gentoo
7. Jackass
8. Galapagos
9. Magellanic
10. Humboldt

Banner of Truth Conference 2019 Final Session Ian Hamilton

The conference ended with a sermon from Ian Hamilton. A searching sermon on Watch and pray is worth listening to, which you can do here.
He quoted from John Owen (on mortification)
Bring thy lust to the gospel, not for relief, but for further conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation? In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation… I have despised them all and esteemed them as a thing of nought, that I might harbour a lust in my heart. Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements? Shall I endeavour to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?” Entertain thy conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.
Next year's conference will be March 23-26 on communion with God. Speakers will include Conrad Mbewe (Lusaka, Zambia), Andrew Randall (pastor of Grace Church Larbert, an IPC congregation), Robert McCollum (minister of Dromore Presbyterian, an RP church and a professor in their college), Christopher Ash (writer in residence at Tyndale House, Cambridge) and Meirion Thomas (pastor of Malpas Road, Newport).

Banner Conference 2019 Session 10 John Benton

Good stuff again from John Benton on the final morning in 2 Corinthians 4. You can find the video here.
Corrie Ten Boom
To me, a little story of a bird - a woodpecker - has helped in understanding this. A woodpecker pecked the trunk of a tree, like they do. At that very moment lightning struck the tree and destroyed it, and the woodpecker flew away saying, ‘I didn’t know that there was so much power in my beak.’ I ask you, do you have the Holy Spirit, or does the Holy Spirit have you?

Banner Conference 2019 Session 9 Derek Thomas

Derek Thomas gave another excellent message on the Wednesday night of the current conference. He looked at a neglected subject - the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Wonderful! See here for the video. I actualy caught most of this one live.
The ninth century hymn used by Mahler begins as follows

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

(COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.)

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

(O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.)

The whole things is here,

Banner Conference 2019 Session 8 Ted Donnelly

This second session from Ted Donnelly on the second part of Romans was again a joy to hear. The groans of creation and of people and the groaning of the Spirit.  You can access it here.
Helpful quotations used

Much remains opaque. What is of interest is that the activity of the divine ruach is precisely that of extending God's presence into creation in such a way as to order and complete what has been planned in the mind of God. That is exactly the role the spirit characteristically fulfils elsewhere in Scripture.
Life here and now is not the main thing; it is only a preparation for eternity. This attitude, which permeates the New Testament through and through, is utterly foreign to the dominant spirit ....
Christians are like bells: The harder you hit them the better they sound!
Big doors swing on small hinges, and even those small hinges are put in place by God’s invisible hand. Everything is included – red traffic lights, unwelcome delays, bitter disappointments, family quarrels, terminal illnesses, unspeakable joys, and golden moments. Nothing is left out. I think that Romans 8:28 is one of the most comforting verses in the whole Bible. I don’t know where I would be, or where you would be, if somebody took it out.

Banner Conference 2019 Session 7 Lindsay Brown

Lindsay Brown's second message is available here. Turning to a favourite passage, Acts 17, he spoke of Paul's motivation, method and message. Classic Lindsay Brown. (I notice that Lindsay's first message is there now).

Funny things seen on my travels 2

To a Brit this tagline is really funny (the food must be baked beans)

Funny Things seen on my travels 1

Brady industries make urinal screens it appears.
Tom Brady fans (and enemies) are well aware.

Banner Conference 2019 Session 6 Derek Thomas

Once again Derek Thomas walked us through a vital and demanding theological subject with skill and warmth. It was a superb presentation. Go listen. The video is here.

Preview for April 14 2019

Banner Conference 2019 Session 5 John Benton

The third session on the Tuesday has been John Benton on the Spirit from heaven. See video here. John is retired from pastoral ministry but works with pastors through the Pastors Academy in London. Two good quotations he gave
George Whitefield (in his Journals)
Could the trees of a certain wood near Stonehouse speak, they would tell what sweet communion I and some dear souls enjoyed with the ever-blessed God there. Sometimes, as I have been walking, my soul would make such sallies that I thought it would go out of the body. At other times I would be so overpowered with a sense of God’s infinite majesty, that I would be constrained to throw myself prostrate on the ground, and offer my soul as a blank in His hands, to write on it what He pleased. 
Milton Vincent ("A Gospel Primer for Christians")
The gospel is so foolish (according to my natural wisdom,1 Cor 1:21), so scandalous (according to my conscience, 1 Cor 1:23), and so incredible (according to my timid heart, 1 John 3:19), that it is a daily battle to believe the full scope of it as I should. There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemnings of my heart, and the lies of the world and the Devil (2 Cor 4:4) than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the gospel.

Banner Conference 2019 Sessions (3 &) 4 Ted Donnelly

For some reason the first session of the Tuesday of the conference is not available on Youtube. Lindsay Brown spoke on mission (very good one of my sons told me) and I guess he mentioned things that are happening in certain places that are deemed too be available for all and sundry. (If Banner or anyone else can send me a video or audio I promise not to divulge anything sensisitive). I'll pay of needs be.
The second session was on the first half of Romans 8, a passage abundant in its references to the Holy Spirit. The speaker was Irishman Ted Donnelly. In an excellent message he spoke of four things - the freedom which the Spirit brings, the control which the Spirit exercises, the obligation which the Spirit imposes and the assurance which the Spirt confers.

Banner Conference 2019 Session 2 Derek Thomas

Session 2 Derek Thomas on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity is here. Good stuff once again, taking what should be familiar material and presenting it with freshness.

Banner Conference 2019 Session 1 Steven Curry

I am sorry not to be able to be at the Banner Conference in Yarnfield this year. The first message can be found here. The speaker was Steven Curry looking at John 20. His message concerned our confidence, our example and our need in connection with Christian mission. It was a rousing call to evangelism.

Lord's Day April 7 2019

We have been staying with relatives and so it was our joy and privilege to attend with them Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church, a PCA church in Las Vegas. The church currently meets in Sierra Vista High School but hopes soon to move into its own building. We began with Sunday School. The adult school was on tongue speaking. The main service was quite liturgical in the Presbyterian style with modern hymns in the main. The sermon was on Matthew 12:38-41. Both were led by Dan Phillips, one of the five elders, in the absence of the pastor Tim Posey. The sermon can currently be found here on the church website. About 170 were there and were friendly. What a joy when one is the other side of the world and yet can find good fellowship.

Films on the plane

During my recent visit to S Africa and back I took advantage of the abundance of films available and watched a few. I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody as a simple recap on the seventies with regard to Queen. Can't understand why the surviving members of Queen were willing to have themseves presented as such bozos. They were one of the most popular groups in our class as a teenager. I still remember Bohemian Rhapsody coming out and what a masterpiece it seemed to me to be. 
Sometimes, always, never is a quirky little British film with Bill Nighy and Jenny Agutter that explores grief and sibling rivalry from an odd but charming angle. Green Book has been much talked about and it was good to see what the fuss was. It is a road movie where two highly unlikely characters are thrown together (an Italian American hoodlum and an African American musician with classical training).
Can you ever forgive me? has also been much talked about and is an interesting story based in true events but I find it hard work to enjoy films about horrible people. The fifth film was Mary Queen of Scots. Lots of problems with this - unrealistically positive about Mary, John Knox caricatured (David Tennant!), gratuitous sex scenes, etc. The best bit in the film never happened in reality but that is not such a bad failing in some ways.

Preview for April 7 2019

Midweek Meeting April 3 2019

We were down to four last night for various reasons. We carried on in James 2. I could see 10 things about Law there. James is not always easy to follow in his thinking. We prayed too. One of our burdens is the large number of people on the periphery in our church, people we only see once a week. What to do?

Christian MIT Professor

This testimony is worth reading here.

John Willison Catechism Questions and Answers

I like these questions and answers from An Example of Plain Catechising Upon the Assembly's Shorter Catechism by John Willison (1680-1750)

Q. Is there not a great difference between the death of a believer, and an unbeliever?
A. Yes; for to the one it is the effect of God's love, to the other it is the punishment of sin; to the one it is his Father's servant sent to bring him home to his Father's house, to the other it is an officer of justice sent to arrest him for his fearful debts and crimes.

G. What is the difference between the graves of believers, and unbelievers?
A. The graves of believers are beds of rest, where^ they sleep in Jesus; and it is by virtue of the union subsists^ between him and them, that they shall be awaked from their sleep in the morning of the resurrection: but the grave is a prison to unbelievers, wherein their bodies are kept in custody until the judgement of the great day, and/from which they shall be raised by the power of God their terrible Judge.

Lord's Day March 31

Feeling a bit Mondayish today. The main reason I think is that we were quite a low number (in single figures) in the evening (the problem was probably mother's day rather than BST). The morning wasn't too bad and a local woman was there who has only come in the evening so far. The second part of Acts 19 is not so easy to preach but I think we did okay. I feel a little down because of missing people and the fact I won't be preaching in Childs Hill next week plus the general lack of impact we see. We finished our church history series and sang four 20th century hymns (two Margaret Clarkson hymns on the second coming, Jesus is Lord and a Melody Green song).
PS Nice to talk to someone in the congregation who has been often to Effes. They still sell little models of Artemis apparently.