Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. 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.

Preaching at Trafalgar Square today

It was good to have another opportunity to preach in Trafalgar Square today. It was a little wet but not wet enough to keep crowds away. Our only problem really was that we were a little short of people to preach. Some of our regulars were busy. The meetings are arranged by Sebastian Mani seen above.

Midweek Meeting November 19 2014

We were a little lower in numbers tonight than of late only just creeping into double figures. We were looking at reasons to be cheerful from Philippians 1:19-26. That and the prayer time seemed to go off quite well I guess. We have a members meeting for November 20 so I tried not to keep people too late. The seven reasons to be cheerful are above.

Coats P - Puffer Coat

Excellent lecture on Hildersham

We were treated to an excellent lecture lunch time last Monday from Lesley Rowe on Arthur Hildersham. it seems to me that the best lectures have three qualities. 1. They know their subject inside out 2. They are able to produce a brief, relevant and to the point talk 3. They are able to present that material and answer any questions after. This time round all three qualities were in evidence and it was gratifying to see a larger than usual crowd present. I think Lesley managed to sell a good pile of books too. My brief review of the book is elsewhere on this blog, if you click Arthur Hildersham below. Another sidelight, the library has a copy of Hildersham's most popular work, a catechism on the Lord's Supper. It is a tenth edition but still very early.


"tambourines and elephants are playing in the band"

Coats O - Orarion

Apparently these are worn by deacons in the Greek Orthodox church

How it is these days 3 (The C of E)

It is difficult to track down the quotation but it is agreed that Charles Hodge in Old Princeton was one who took immense pride in his oft-repeated claim that there was nothing new or innovative whatsoever in his theology or in that taught at Princeton during his time at the helm.
Contrast that with Justin Welby the present Archbishop of Canterbury. He is widely reported as saying recently, in light of the acceptance of women bishops, “Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together”  and “I think it means above all that we have started a completely new phase of our existence as the church."
Of course, it won't stop there. People are already saying that it must be gay bishops next and logically, I suppose, who can blame them? And atheists too and (consenting) cannibals!!!

How it is these days 2 (funding projects)

A very nice local lady phoned me yesterday to ask if I would help spread the word about a project that seeks to turn a rather water logged part of the local park into a marsh garden for the kids. When she mentioned it would be a national lottery funded thing I said that as a church we would probably find it difficult to be involved. When I looked into it further I discovered that it is part of a thing called The People's Millions whereby since 2005 projects have been nominated and then compete against each other for (what is in this case) the £50,000 prize (prizes vary in value).
On a certain day (this one will be next Wednesday) people are encouraged to phone a certain number and the side that manages to organise the most calls (705 of calls are usually organised rather than spontaneous reactions to the TV reports) the £50, 000 (or whatever) for their cause. Calls cost 15p a time and you can make as many as 10 per person. I have tried to discover where this money goes but there is no mention of this. Presumably after BT, the provider, the lottery people and ITV go back to their den and share it out.
I discovered that on average it takes 5,400 votes to win which = £810 (plus however much you get from the losers). So it is only a thousand or so a day that is being raked off but a lot of that will be with no reward for the good hearted people who pay up. Of course, the money has already taken gained from people foolish enough to put money in the national lottery. There must be a better way.

How it is these days 1 (Punishing your kids)

The celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has recently highlighted what a mess parents are in when it comes to punishing their children when they misbehave. Oliver is quoted as saying "It is not very popular beating kids any more, it’s not very fashionable and you are not allowed to do it and if you are a celebrity chef like me it does not look very good in the paper. So you need a few options." Well, what are those options?
Oliver tells a frightening story of how his daughter once showed him disrespect and so, he says, "Five minutes later she thought I had forgotten and I hadn’t. She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with Scotch Bonnet and it worked a treat." His wife was understandably not happy about this. It involved deception and Oliver apparently thought it was funny.
It is easy to criticise someone for such an action but the real problem is that this child was deprived of a punishment that was just and fair because of the general opposition to such things these days. The sooner Bible based ways of discipline are rediscovered the better for all of us.

Lord's Day November 18 2014

It was an encouraging day last Sunday with decent numbers, including visitors, at both meetings. We had our third and last sermon for a while on 1 Corinthians 14. It has been good to work through these verses and see the principles Paul advocates. I think we are on the right lines. I hope so. We had a good communion before the evening service when I preached the last sermon in a short series on The Parable of the Sower, mostly from Mark 4 but drawing on the other Synoptic writers, as there are some interesting differences in the way Luke and Matthew express our Lord's words. We will start on some Christmas material in awhile but we'll probably spend three weeks working into 1 Corinthians 15 and look at some Old Testament (easily neglected without care) material in the evenings.

CCM Focus Day London

An excellent day at St John's Wood Road today for the focus on Christian Compassion Ministries and their work in Manila among deprived children. Paul Relf, chairman of the UK committee, chaired and John T and Virgie Sparrow led with Catherine Gacutan, currently visiting. A lot of thought had been put into the day and all sorts of things were utilised in order to make it a truly multi media, multi sensory experience. There was a mock up slum dwelling (which was even "on fire" at one stage), a scale model of the girls' home, Skype calls with Brian Ellis and others, lots of video footage and pictures, plenty of news, some prayer and worship, even a Filipino merienda or snack at one point. I do believe I even heard Susan Boyle singing. About 60 or 70 gathered. Pity there weren't more. Several of us have been to Manila but whether you had been or not, it was a real opportunity to get the experience. Hopefully this will stir people to pray and to give to the most worthy work.

Midweek Meeting November 12 2014

Everything's been behind this week for some reason. Anyway we had a good session last Wednesday meeting to pray and to look at Philippians 1:12-18. We were the usual sort of number but older and more male dominated than last week and with a newcomer, who I hope felt welcome among us. My four points were
1. Recognise that sometimes what appears to be a reverse will turn out to be an advance
2. If we take a stand for the Lord it may encourage others to be more bold3
3. Sometimes if we take a stand and are successful some will envy us and compete with us
4. If someone else takes a stand and is successful, don't envy them or compete with them

Lord's Day November 10 2014

Bit slow with this again but we had an excellent day Sunday, including lunch together following the morning meeting. It was Remembrance Day, of course, and so we began with the two minutes silence as we always do. I've never preached on the theme before but as it is the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World war I decided to go to Lamentations 3:19-23. It was a slight struggle to keep on track and not just make bland comments but I think we got there. In the evening I looked at the seed among thorns, the third in our little series on the Parable of the sower. This was the best so far, I thought. Again, what a privilege to be amongst God's people and to be preaching his Word.