- January 29 1964 Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris: Can't Buy Me Love
- February 9 1967 Regent Sound Studio, London: Fixing A Hole
- May 11 1967 Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London: Baby You're A Rich Man
- May 25/26, June 2 1967 De Lane Lea Music Recording Studios, London: It's All Too Much
- August 22/23 1967 Chappell Recording Studios, London: Your Mother Should Know
- July 31, August 1/2 1968 Trident Studios, London: Hey Jude
- August 28-30 1968 Trident Studios, London: Dear Prudence
- January 28 1969 Apple Studios, London: Get Back
- January 30 1969 Apple Studios Roof, London: One After 909
- January 31 1969 Apple Studios, London: Two Of Us
Sticking with this policy of taking two days off a month, I did that at the beginning of this last week. The way it worked out my wife had to be in Leamington Spa for the day so I joined her for the journey there and back and while she was in her Go Teach committee I wandered the streets of a town I have never visited before. It's a bit like Cheltenham, which was also a spa town. The museum was closed sadly and so, once it started raining, I hit the coffee shops. I did a lot of Bible reading and planning and read from a book I picked up recently on the year 1603 by Christopher Lee. Back here we watched some TV. I also took the next day off, again reading and walking but also watching an excellent docudrama from Denmark The Investigation. So whether this is a good idea or not I am not sure. When you are as lazy as I am, it is hard to assess. (Oh yeah, I forgot, I organised our evening meal for once on Tuesday night. Nothing special. I bought a pie).
Somehow I have let three midweek meetings go by unremarked. We have been pursuing this theme of special, looking at the Lord's Day, the fact that when we come together as believers we do so to worship and the whole matter of revival. These are the last three in the series of eight. There are one or two other topics we could add but that will be enough for this series. We have continued to meet via zoom with all its advantages and disadvantages. As far as I recall attendance has been good and the prayer times fine. We have a visitor next tome so it's good to be up to date.
- Quatre garçons dans le vent (French Four boys in the wind)
- Vier jongens op rondreis (Flemish Four boys on a tour)
- Perný den (Czech Busy day)
- Erfiður dagur (Icelandic Tough day)
- Yeah! Yeah! Här kommer vi (Swedish Yeah! Yeah! Here we come)
- Yeah Yeah Yeah (German)
- Tutti per uno (Italian All for one)
- Os quatro Cabeleiras do Após-Calipso (Portuguese The four hairyheads of the Apocalypso)
- Gençlerin sevgilisi (Turkish Lover of young people)
- Os Reis do Ié-Ié-Ié (Brazil Portuguese The Kings of Yeah yeah yeah)
This week's day off was slightly disjointed. I read most of Mike Mellor's book on pathos in preaching Preaching the heart of God. Challenging and helpful. I also finished the book on the Beatles that I bought last week, listening to the Beatles. In the evening we went up to the seminary to hear Rico Tice give the Lloyd-Jones lecture. I'll try to report on that some other time.
Last Lord's Day was a bit different in that I preached three times rather than two. In addition to my usual morning and evening preaching in the Childs Hill church I also preached for the Korean church that meets in our building in the afternoon. It was very kind of them to ask me and I was grateful for the warm welcome. I preached on Psalm 28 and someone had kindly chosen three appropriate hymns including a Fanny Crosby one that I didn't know,
This week's day off included a trip to Swiss Cottage on the bus where I picked up some bargains in a charity shop and The Works. I started reading the Jack Charlton autobiography and made a big dent. I have the Snow Goose and will pass it on. I enjoyed listening to one or two Beatles albums and reading along with the Beatles book.
A new month so we began with communion. We then sang some harvest hymns and I preached from Psalm 104.Visitirs included a lady from Hong Kong and a man in need en route from Aylesbury to Folkestone. In the evening I took a text, Proverbs 28:13. It is a humdinger. We were a small number again in the evening but we had one visitor.
- In Exodus it does not say that the Egyptian chariots got stuck in the mud (Eg GOD looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.) Rather it says (Exodus 14:24, 25) During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt."
- Joshua did not tell people to choose between God and idols. (Eg At the end of his speech Joshua told the people they would have to decide. They could keep the land if they chose to follow God’s leading and worship only Him. But they had to get rid of the idols. Then, every day, they must decide whom they would worship - the true God, or idols.) Rather he says (Joshua 24:15) But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
- In the Book of Judges Gideon is told to select his final 300 from the 10,000 by watching them drink water. Some give the idea that the 300 were wiser than the rest (Eg It's surprising, but only three hundred men got on their knees and drank from their hands. All the rest looked silly drinking like dogs!). It would seem, however, that whatever the difference in styles the choice of the 300 was an arbitrary one. See Judges 7:4-6 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go." So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
- Also in Judges we have the story of Samson and how the Philistine Delilah discovered his secret and so had his hair cut. It is sometimes said for brevity that she cut his hair (Eg That evening as Samson slept, Delilah cut his hair and called in the Philistines. The Philistine men were able to capture Samson.) but in fact she had a man to do it. See Judges 16:19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.
- In I Samuel and the story of David and Goliath we read that David was offered the use of Saul's armour. It is sometimes said that he rejected its use because it was too big for him (Eg To help David out, Saul gave him his own armour to wear. David put the various parts of the armour on and tried walking a few steps. But he could hardly move! Saul was a big man, but David was just a kid. So David took off the armour). In fact the problem was that David was not used to the armour. See I Samuel 17:38, 39 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off.
- In the Gospels there is no reference to Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem on a donkey although that is often assumed (Eg We do not know the name or breed of the donkey that was used to carry Mary, who was pregnant at the time with Jesus. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem could have taken 4-6 days by foot to cover the 120 km or 75 mile journey.) It was as likely to have been made by foot.
- In Luke 2 the angels appear to the shepherds. It is often said that they sang God's praise (Eg Suddenly, many angels appeared, singing praises to God “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!” ) but in Luke 2:13, 14 it simply says Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests."
- In Matthew 2 the wisemen or Magi are spoken of. Often referred to as the three wise men or even three kings, no number is specified. (Eg Far away in the east, three wise kings had seen the beautiful star shining brightly over Bethlehem.) See Matthew 2:1, 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." They also did not visit Jesus the night he was born but some time later. There is no mention of them riding camels or where exactly they came from and certainly not their names.
- Did Paul change his name from Saul after he was converted as some say? (Eg I take it, then, that the assumption of the name of Paul instead of the name of Saul occurred at this point, stood in some relation to his missionary work, and was intended in some sense as a memorial of his first victory in the preaching of the Gospel). In fact Paul or Saul always had two names, a Jewish one and a Roman one. It was his mission to the Gentiles that meant that he was increasingly referred to by his Roman name.
- In Revelation 2:4 Jesus does not say that the church in Ephesus had lost its first love. (Eg Ephesus had some unique challenges for a Christ-follower in that it was home to the Emperor’s cult and the worship of the Greek goddess Artemis (Acts 19:23-40). Because of these influences, the Ephesian believers had developed great discernment when it came to false teachers and heresy. Christ commended them for this discernment, but He faulted them for having lost their “first love.”) Rather, he says Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
It was our privilege to be at the memorial service for Norman Wells today with about 300 others at IPC, Ealing. Norman died from Covid-19 rather suddenly in Spring last year. He was 56. A memorial service has only been possible now. We had helpful tributes from family and friends and Paul Levy preached helpfully from Psalm 73. It was lovely over tea afterwards to talk with old friends and one or two people I had not spoken with before. I knew Norman from his time in London Seminary and he would sometimes turn up in our services when en route from somewhere else. Norman's main work was with the Family Education Trust. It is clear that his thorough research and advocacy for the Christian view of the family never became theoretical but was lived out in his relationship with his wife Nicola and his nine children.
We were on zoom once again as usual on Wednesday and we looked at another "special" subject - this time limited atonement or particular redemption, what we might call special atonement. We spent time in prayer too. We seemed to take to it better this week than last. These things do vary.
What, another day off? Yes, I was off on Friday and Saturday and after two days I was off again as my general pattern is to take a day off every Tuesday. Having said that I actually spent a lot of time working on a paper I have to give before the end of the year. The introduction has been going round my head so it was easier to get it down. There were various other things like that and a coffee and a bit of TV.
|Two of my grandsons enjoying doughnuts at the wedding|
I thought it unlikely that Thijs van Leer would have been doing nothing during the pandemic. His new album is out today. All in French, Parce que is a set of ten vocal numbers with piano and flute from the maestro. Downloaded it this morning and am enjoying it, though the vibe is more an evening than a morning one.
We were a smaller number in the morning last Lords Day as I preached from Luke 8 again. We were on earthly loyalties and kingdom loyalties. Lots of Filipinos there, as we had some visitors and some returning regular congregation members. In the evening, I preached on Psalm 26. A good day then but there are still people you wonder where they are.
I enjoyed reading this large and comprehensive volume by Gerald Bray which very helpfully covers the long history of Christianity in these islands. He is especially good on the early stuff. Much was familiar but some was new and it was good to see how it all joins up. I had not realised that scholars now say that Wycliffe did not translate the Bible. I did enjoy some of the etymological notes (eg sinecure, Dingwall, church ales).
There was some confusion last Wednesday evening. One of our members had arranged for someone to speak to us on Sunday evening via Zoom but we are live in person again now so I asked about doing it on a Wednesday night when we are still on zoom. I'd thought that was the plan then and enjoyed a little more free time on Wednesday but in the end I had not read my whatsapp messages properly and there was no outside speaker. I had prepared to read Psalm 20 by way if introduction and so I just read it and gave a little more time to expound it (the Psalm has seven petitions and then some closing material). Anyway we had plenty of time to gather items for prayer and then pray too so it worked put okay in God's providence.
Last Tuesday was a lovely hot day and so I put on a flowery t shirt and shorts and made the most of it walking and reading in the garden. (Someone gave me the new Stephen King Billy Summers which one can't really recommend but that is well written and interesting all the way). I also found time for a bit of TV (an old police drama series on catch up The Commander).
We began the Lord's Day with communion We were not too many but the main services were quite full am (c 35) and pm (c 15). We were very international in the morning with Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ghana, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, The Philippines and S Africa all represented. (I was sorry not to get opportunity to chat with the man from Afghanistan who I have not seen in a while). These were all familiar faces to some extent and one of our families also had relatives we know visiting. I preached on Luke 18:16-18 in the morning and Psalm 25 in the evening and although they weren't bad homiletically I felt they lacked something somehow. Preaching is a strange thing in some ways. We never get the full picture. At the end of the morning meeting I had a long chat with an Iranian whose English is limited explaining why I wouldn't baptise his young daughter.
A Nigerian couple in membership at the church are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary and we were kindly invited to a celebration in a nearby Chinese Restaurant. They have seven children so we were a good number. (The other week another couple celebrated 40 hears of marriage. We are on a mere 33).
We were on Zoom again for our meeting last Wednesday. We looked at another of these Special subjects - the fact that human beings are a special species, with an emphasis on the fact that we are made in God's image. We were not that many but we had a good time of prayer.
It was good to be back in Childs Hill for both services. We had a good number in the morning and not a bad one in the evening. In the morning it was nice to meet plenty of old friends and some new ones from Eritrea and Malaysia. In the afternoon my niece came for tea with a friend who is a worker in a church in Harpenden. They joined us at the evening meeting. Also in the evening a fellow turned up towards the end in need. We have met him before. I preached one offs from the end of Matthew 7 and on various passages on the subject of providence in conversion.
- Genesis. It was right that Joseph revealed his dreams. It makes more sense to see him as good. This is why his father, Jacob, favoured him.
- Job. Job had only ten more after his recovery and only the girls are named. Job is given ten more children not twenty because he still had ten in heaven. The girls are named against convention in order to underline that tradition is not always correct.
- Song of Songs, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. There is nothing wrong with the traditional view that Solomon wrote the first as a young man, the last as an old man and the bulk of the middle one throughout his life.
- Proverbs 31 is not a mere appendix about what to look for in a wife but the climax of the call to the son by his father to marry wisdom. This wisdom points to Christ, the wisdom of God. We must marry the Bride Christ (as well as the Bridegroom as is taught elsewhere).
- 2 Kings. Elisha's request to Elijah for a double portion and why it was a hard thing to give is to do with the fact that a double portion is the eldest son's portion. When Elijah says he has asked for a hard thing it is not that it is hard for that to be done but being the eldest son involves great responsibility. For Christ it meant death on the cross.
- John 14. When Jesus speaks about going to prepare a place for his disciples he is referring chiefly to the work he is about to do on the cross. It is by this means that believers can enter heaven.
- Acts 16 says that the jailer was baptised along with his household. It is most likely that this reference is to all the other prisoners who also believed.
- Romans 14:22, 23 makes clear that faith resides in the conscience, which is the soul in its moral workings.
- 1 Corinthians 11:14 speaks of long hair as a shame to a man. Paul is probably being ironic here as he let his hair grow throughout the 18 months he was in Corinth planting the church.
- Revelation 20:3. How to understand the thousand years and the short time is difficult and there are various views. Those who rightly take it to refer to the period from Christ's first coming to his second still allow a short time at the end when Satan is again set free. It is better to take the thousand years and the short time to run conjointly. In one sense the period is like a thousand years of Satan bound but, in another sense, it is like a short time when Satan is free.
Last Lord's Day was a little different as we were away from home and staying with others. We had also decided to fly back to the mainland from N Ireland that evening. In the end we joined the Portadown Elim congregation online in the morning with four others. This was not quite what we are used to, although Mount Pleasant the week before had prepared us. The sermon was from a member called Ken Henning, an MBE and former police chief, who preached helpfully from 1 Corinthians 13. We should have been better organised and set up to watch something in the evening but failed there and so I found myself buying my wife perfume not something I often do, especially on the Lord's Day! We flew frm Belfast to Cardiff and then drove on to a holiday place near Aber. One sad aspect to the day was to know I was so near Richhill EPC and not be able to attend.
As we travel about in Wales we see a lot of places whose names begin with Nant-. Here are ten examples.
- Nantyrarian, Brecknockshire (Silverbrook)
- Nant-y-Bwch, Brecknockshire (Cowbrook)
- Nantddu, Brecknockshire (Blackbrook)
- Nantyglo, Monmouthshire (Coalbrook)
- Nantmel, Radnorshire (Honeybrook)
- Nantglas, Radnorshire (Bluebrook)
- Nant Mawr, Flintshire (Greatbrook)
- Nantycaws, Carmarthenshire (Cheesebrook)
- Nant-y-ffin, Carmarthenshire (Borderbrook)
- Nant-y-felin, Caernarfonshire (Millbrook)
As mentioned our holiday moved on next to Rhaeadr near the Elan Valley, where we saw the above statue in memory of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
"Rocks piled on each other to tremendous heights, rivers formed into cataracts by their projections, and valleys clothed with woods, present an appearance of enchantment.""This country is highly romantic; here are rocks of uncommon height and picturesque waterfalls. I am more astonished at the grandeur of the scenery than I expected.""...I am not wholly uninfluenced by its magic on my lonely walks."
"He was a very strange gentleman. On weekdays he wore a little cap and had his neck bare, but on Sundays, donning a tall hat, he would go with the family to church". He was said to be "full of fun" and "he loved to sail in the rapid mountain streams a wooden boat about a foot in length, and would run along the bank, using a pole to direct his craft, and keep it from shipwreck on the rocks".
"Strange as it may appear, we have been all through North Wales to find a house, but not one presented itself..."
"The house is not yet our own, although we reside here, but will be so in the course of a month. ...This house is large, it will contain seven bedrooms. ...We are now embosomed in the solitude of mountains, woods and rivers - silent, solitary, and old: far from any town; six miles from Rhayader, which is the nearest. A ghost haunts this house, which has frequently been seen by the servants."
"We are not yet completely certain of being able to obtain the house where now we are. The cheapness, beauty, and retirement, make this place in every view desirable. .... mountains and rocks seeming to form a barrier round this quiet valley, which the tumult of the world may never overleap."
Our holiday is continuing in Rhaeadr, Mid-Wales, and the party has now swollen from three to fifteen (all our children and grandchildren are here). We are opposite the house where Robert J Thomas was born.
Nov. 3 This morning half-a-dozen junkmen went ashore to catch shell fish, on which three of them were cruelly beaten about the legs by a score of cowardly islanders. Our little fleet of nine junks was in a state of high indignation. We could send fifty men to fight. In their own fashion they immediately loaded their rusty matchlocks and small guns with powder only! And taking to their sampons, flying their respective flags, amidst great beating of gongs, made for the village. All the islanders were congregated like a flock of white sheep on the top of the hill. Two or three of the fiercer ones were going through all kinds of warlike manoeuvres on a near cliff. Steadily our flotilla advanced, firing volley after volley of power—the more prudent one fire about five hundred yards from the village. Two of the most daring boats advanced towards the shore, where, by this time, many of those from the hill had collected themselves and were engaged very vigorously in pelting stones; nothing daunted, these two boats seized a small junk lying off the beach, in a trice they had lifted the anchor, and amidst great acclamations brought away their prize. It is a small tub and will be given up tomorrow.
Nov. 4 Yesterday, stormy. Today two islanders fixed a small stick in the ground at low water with a piece of paper attached to it. I sent my writer for it; the following is a free translation:--"This for all to see. You are engaged in a contraband trade, a trade severely punished by our respective countries. Your vessels that come here are too much given to disturbances. You have been here already ten days. You have dared to cut wood on a sacred islet with a temple on it, rendering us liable to tempests. Your guilt is very great indeed. As we have none who after the wood, you have taken it in a thievish manner. You are all a set of thieves. You indeed are a desperate set. One of our military officials will come with a thousand men, who will do battle with you and slay you. But now we are willing to make it up and not report it. You must believe this document. The other day you snatched away a vessel; you must return it, and then we will not entertain hostile feelings toward you. Be quick, be quick."
We are on holiday at the moment - in Wales, of course. We decided to start in Swansea and stayed (the three of us) in a nice studio flat near the marina for the weekend. There are many places we could go to church in Swansea but we decided on Mount Pleasant in the morning and Ebenezer in the evening. Both are Baptist churches. Way back Mount was English speaking and Ebenezer Welsh speaking but now the difference is more to do with conservative and less conservative approaches. We needed to register for both services.
Another fine prayer meeting and Bible Study on zoom again last week and with good numbers. We came to the end of 1 Timothy. Good timing as I am away soon, although I will take the meeting on August 4.
Sometimes you are told that people say a certain thing and you wonder if they really do. Yesterday in TableTalk Magazine in comments on 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 it actually does say this (italics mine).
If you are wondering what has happened to these - it has been busy with visitors and this week some travelling and so a regular day off has not been possible. I'm not overworking, however, I'm sure. My main reason for writing about days off is to encourage younger men in the ministry to try to have a day off.