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.

Blog of the Week 12

Published Articles

It's not remarkable
But when I've written an article
In a magazine
Then on this blog screen
It's sure to be seen.

I have written various articles over the years and this website seeks to collate them. I started doing this in 2015 and there are now about 140 articles there on a relatively wide range of subjects. There have been less than 8,000 hits so it would be nice if there were more. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog with nearly 500 visits is 40 Good Things to do on a Sunday afternoonYou can find it here.  Lots of other interesting things too. DO check it out.

Lord's Day May 24 2020

This week was slightly different in that I didn't preach in the morning. A student with us, Benjamin Saunders, preached on Psalm 45 in the morning. He preached well. I did the rest if the service apart from  the reading and sermon. So I still had to out in a few hours putting the thing together. In the evening it was zoom again and Joshua 2. It was nice to have a visiting friend. We began in the morning with singing. It's all on our website.

10 People who died at the age of 61

I do this sort of thing at this time of the year just to remind myself that being a live is a privilege not to be taken for granted.
  1. Gregory of Nazianzus  church father 390
  2. Thomas Gainsborough artist 1788
  3. Andrew Fuller 1815
  4. Sir Walter Scott novelist 1832
  5. Adoniram Judson missionary 1850
  6. George Eliot novelist 1880
  7. Gregor Mendel monk and scientist 1884
  8. Benito Mussolini dictator 1945
  9. Ernest Hemingway writer 1961
  10. Alan Ball footballer 2007

Midweek Meeting May 20 2020

We zoomed again last night. I started a short series on adoption, which I hope will be helpful. We had a decent time of prayer too. Two members have had cousins die lately (one from the virus one from cancer), another has a sick parent, we are sad for a couple we know stuck on different continents due to the virus, have also been concerned for someone giving birth with difficulty and others happy to be pregnant. Always plenty to pray about.

Blog of the Week 11

I'd quite forgotten to do this this week so perhaps this is the time to slip this one past you

Focus on Focus

Focus is the best of all bands
They are based in the Netherlands
Their mainstay is called Thijs van Leer
They play their music far and near
They play mostly instrumental
Sometimes rowdy, sometimes gentle.

The Dutch band Focus have been an obsession since I was a teenager and in 2007 I decided to make a blog, chiefly cataloguing their various tracks. My aspiration was to do something like Ian MacDonald did in Revolution in the head regarding the Beatles. I've never got near in reality but I continue to try and have added various other bits and bobs over the years. Perhaps the best thing is the way that it has opened up connections with other Focus fans. I think chiefly of Peet Johnson in Australia who has gone miles beyond me with a whole biography of Focus, which I have ended up giving editorial advice on. I think a new edition is due soon. See here. There is also Kjell Arne Nordli who very kindly sent me a stack of live recordings of Focus for free one time.
There are over 300 posts at present but I am conscious of many needing improvement and at least one series unfinished. There have been about over 67,000 views. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog with over a thousand hits is one entitled Jan Akkerman - the classical elementYou can find it here. .

Day off Week 21 2020

This week's day off was okay but a bit bitty. I am trying to finish this Tom Holland book Persian Fire but didn't get too far. It was very warm yesterday. Another distraction was radio podcasts done by Louis Theroux. Fairly interesting, I guess. See here. At some point I read an obituary for Astrid Kircher at 81 (part of the Beatles story). In the evening we watched the last part of a Netflix series Unorthodox, which was interesting and quite moving. See here. I also began an assault on a manuscript I am hoping to make fit for publishing on Amazon. As for the book contribution I mentioned last time two good things - the cover is now prepared - see here. I was also notified that the first seven volumes of the Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society are online. They contain eight articles on my subject. Nice providence. See here.

Lord's Day May 17 2020

Technology caught up with us a little but yesterday. We successfully zoomed for a quiz on Friday night and a Junior Church Saturday morning but like others, come Sunday morning there were major problems. Thankfully what we have at 10 am on Sundays is a hymn singing session so we didn't lose out as much as we might but it was very frustrating especially as we could see people but not here. We tried several machines and techniques. In the end I uninstalled and reinstalled the Zoom app on my laptop and that got us through but it was all over more or less by then. The recorded service from YouTube was okay except that for some reason one verse was missing from one of the hymns and all my sermon heads were out of sync. I've corrected it now so check that out if you wish. It was on 2 Corinthians 3. In the evening things were fine zooming on Joshua 2:10-18. We had a good chinwag after too.

365 Albums 121-135

  1. Jan Akkerman 3 Jan Akkerman 1979 
  2. Modern Vampires of the City Vampire Weekend 2013
  3. Poland Tangerine Dream 1984
  4. Cosmo's Factory Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970
  5. Violunar Kagermann 1992
  6. Tangram Tangerine Dream 1980
  7. Adrenalin Rush Gareth Pearson 2006
  8. Oceanic Vangelis 1997
  9. All that you can't leave behind U2 2000
  10. The Memory of Trees Enya 1995
  11. Noise of Art Jan Akkerman 1990
  12. Hymns III Page CXVI 2010*
  13. Beyond the Storm Edgar Froese 1995
  14. Happy to meet - Sorry to part Horslips 1972
  15. Rubber Soul The Beatles 1965

Midweek Meeting May 13 2020

This week I went for good old Isaiah 26:3, 4. That went okay but the best thing was the good number present (20 or so - twice what we often get under normal circumstances) and a good spirit of prayer too. Encouraging.

Day off Week 20 2020

The  new shape of the week has left me rater behind with things. Last week's day off got chewed mostly in organising a quiz for the church which we had last Friday. Coming up with a quiz was easy enough but putting it together in a nice way and researching the answers took an age. My piece de resistance - a music round - backfired as it is not easy to play music on Zoom. There was time for  a bit of TV at the end of the day but not much else.

10 Words in English that change the meaning when repeated

Usually the repetition of the word introduces a cynical element but different phrases work in different ways.

1. Promises (promises)
2. Hello (hello)
3. Yeah (yeah)
4. Never (never)
5. Words (words)
6. Pooh (pooh)*
7. There (there)
8. Hear (hear)
9. So (so)
10. Chop (chop)

*Also differently Do (do) and Pea (pea)
Also note 
Ta (ta) Tom (tom) Win (win) Go (go) Sing (sing) Talk (talk) Well (well)

Blog of the Week 10

Bible Lists

This blog consists of Bible lists,
Those that are in the Bible found.
Some seem mundane, some seem profound,
None that exist should be dismissed.

Regular readers of this blog will know my penchant for lists. In 2017 I decided to make a Bible List blog. Since then I have added about 250 posts. There have been about 1800 hits. It can be found here. Most popular post on the blog is one listing eight cities founded by NimrodYou can find it here. .

Lord's Day May 10 2020

Yesterday followed a similar pattern to recent weeks. We gathered to sing hymns at 10 am and that was a good time. After that we listened to the recording I had made last Friday on 2 Corinthians 2. It's still difficult but we're getting a better idea. In the evening we zoomed again. Rather than chit chat at the beginning we decided that our host would moot us at first and then I would begin. I had the wrong setting so I made people wait a bit longer than I intended but we were fine once we got on with it. I started a new series on Joshua. The first sermon in a series is usually quite long as was this one, looking just at the opening nine verses. People seem to be bearing up generally.

Midweek Meetings April 29 and May 6 2020

Behind again. In these strange days it is easy to lose track of time. Both of the last two midweek meetings have again been on zoom and have gone okay. For one we looked at James 1:4-6 in a head on confrontation of the situation - Count it pure joy in this trail knowing it feeds perseverance. The second was a more oblique approach looking at Acts 11:24 and Barnabas. That was inspired but not based on a sermon I read recently by Andrew Fuller. The prayer times were okay though a little slow to get going the second time.
Extract 1
Facing this trial then - it is part of the warp and weft of much of our life in Christ.
In the Geneva Catechism Calvin wrote this
The greatest need which a man ever has of the spiritual doctrine of our Lord is when his hand visits him with afflictions, whether of disease or other evils, and especially at the hour of death, for then he feels more strongly than ever in his life before pressed in conscience, both by the judgment of God, to which he sees himself born to be called, and the assaults of the devil, who then uses all his efforts to beat down the poor person, and overwhelm him in confusion.
And therefore the duty of a minister is to visit the sick, and console them by the word of the Lord, showing them that all which they suffer and endure comes from the hand of God, and from his good providence, who sends nothing to believers except for their good and salvation. He will quote passages of Scripture suitable to this view.
... if he sees them overwhelmed, with the fear of death, he will show them that it is no cause of dismay to believers, who having Jesus Christ for their guide and protector, will, by their affliction, be conducted to the life on which he has entered. By similar considerations he will remove the fear and terror which they may have of the judgment of God.
If he does not see them sufficiently oppressed and agonised by a conviction of their sins, he will declare to them the justice of God, before which they cannot stand, save through his mercy embracing Jesus Christ for their salvation.
On the contrary, seeing them afflicted in their consciences, and troubled for their offences, he will exhibit Jesus Christ to the life, and show how in him all poor sinners who, distrusting themselves, repose in his goodness, find solace and refuge. ...
That is what I am trying to do with this passage tonight.

Extract 2
There was a soldier in the American Revolutionary War called John Eager Howard. In 1781 he was wounded in a bayonet charge in South Carolina. He went on to be a politician serving in the national senate. The Southern Army commander Major General Nathanael Greene famously wrote of Howard that he was "as good an officer as the world affords. He has great ability and the best disposition to promote the service .... He deserves a statue of gold no less than Roman or Grecian heroes." You could say the same of Barnabas. He was good and he deserves to be remembered more than Caesar or Alexander the Great.
To be good we need to see at least four things in our lives.
1. We need to follow God
2. We ought to have a good effect on others

3. We ought to be incorruptible
4. We ought to be generous, positive, kind or whatever else is good

Day off week 19 2020

Another uneventful day off this week. It would be hard to spot any great difference in the routine as I gave a lot of time to a writing project I have on hand at the present. I did spend time watching TV, however, and reading Tom Holland's book on Persia, etc. Having read his Dominion recently I remembered that I had bought a hardback copy of his Persian Fire in a charity shop some time and never read it. I am enjoying it.

10 Books of the Bible Calvin never got to preach on

Calvin never preached on these. In some cases he did produce commentaries but he never preached these books as far as I am aware. I have asterisked where there are no sermons or commentary either.
  1. Joshua
  2. Ruth
  3. Esther*
  4. Proverbs*
  5. Ecclesiastes*
  6. Song of Songs*
  7. Hebrews
  8. James
  9. I & II Peter
  10. Revelation*

10 Longest Sermon Series Calvin preached

  1. Isaiah (343)
  2. Deuteronomy (201)
  3. Acts (189)
  4. Ezekiel (175)
  5. Job (159)
  6. Genesis (123)
  7. I Corinthians (110)
  8. I Samuel (107)
  9. Psalms (94)
  10. Jeremiah (91)

Blog of the Week 9

John Elias

They said he was the Methodist Pope
With his hardline ways they could not cope.
He'd thunder and flash,
Turn falsehoods to ash,
He gave Wales the message of hope.

John Elias was one of the leading preachers of Wales in his time. I first heard of him as a teenager, when Banner republished Edmund Morgan's biography. I'm not sure what prompted this blog. I began it, however, in 2007. It can be found here. There are 82 posts there. There have been about 1440 hits or so, 
Most popular post on the blog is a notice about the translation of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Fathers, which has two chapters about Elias. You can find it here.

Lord's Day May 3 2020

Bit behind with this. As we were missing another communion I thought it was good to get back directly to the cross, so we looked at Isaiah 53:5, 6 The suffering Saviour and the lost sheep. I should have made sure there was more juice in my camera. I made it but with very little to spare. There appears to have been a low uptake for the video here. In the evening we went to another psalm, Psalm 90. It is wonderful psalm.

10 People Born Low in the Birth Order

1. Philip Doddridge preacher and teacher - twentieth child
2. Charles Wesley evangelist and hymn writer - eighteenth child
3. Johann Christian Bach musician - eighteenth child
4. Marie Antoinette royal consort - fifteenth child
5. Benjamin Franklin scientist and diplomat - fifteenth child (two mothers)
6. Stephen Crane author - fourteenth child
7. Mary Wood author - thirteenth child
8. Sophia, Electress of Hanover scholar - twelfth child
9. Eliza Lynn Linton novelist and journalist - twelfth child
10. Zig Ziglar motivational speaker - tenth child
(Lydia Pinkham medicine seller - tenth child, Mark Wahlberg actor - ninth child)

10 examples of different songs with the same title

These are examples where the same title appears but with reference to quite different tracks. These are from my own collection. For an alternative list see here.
  1. Alone Gabrielle Wishbone Ash
  2. Babylon Aphrodite's Child Don McClean David Gray
  3. Crossroads Focus Tracy Chapman
  4. Do it again The Beach Boys The Kinks
  5. Hold on Forcefield Wilson Phillips*
  6. How Long Focus Vampire Weekend
  7. Promenade ELP U2
  8. The Promise Enya Tracy Chapman
  9. Sunshine Gabrielle, Keane Joachim Kuhn Rick van der Linden
  10. Thank You Gabrielle Leigh Nash
*I notice Hold on appears on both lists but different artists are listed

Day Off Week 18 2020

This week I read a lovely little book by Derek Thomas on heaven called Heaven on earth. I also carried on with the book on Calvin mentioned recently John Calvin: for a new reformation. There was a bit of TV later in the day too and in the morning I more or less finished a painting I have been working on called The boys are back in town.

New UFM Missionaries

We have been glad to be involved with UFM in recent weeks as they try to help members of ours plan for ministry in Brazil. See here.