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.

Fun Video

I saw this on TV tonight. Lots of fun.

10 Bible Mnemonic Acronyms

1. The first five books of the Bible
Gentle Eskimos leave numerous daughters
(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
2. Jacob's sons
Repentant Sinners Love Jesus. Do Not Give Anyone, In Zeal, Jewish Books (Muslim Either)
(Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph Benjamin[Manasseh, Ephraim])
3. The Ten plagues
Big fat gnats fly low,
Boiling hot lava drips flow,
(Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, Firstborn die)
4. The Ten Commandments
First I Must Remember How Mothers Add Steel Lined Covers
(Put God First, Have no Idols, Don't Misuse God's Name, Remember the Sabbath Day To Keep It Holy, Honour Your Mother And Father, Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not lie, Do not covet)
5. The Cities of refuge
Girls race boys to the east
Kids shoe horses in the west
(Golan, Ramoth, and Bosor on the east; Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron on the west)
6. The Kings of Judah (and one Queen)
Readily Available As Jellied Jam,
All Are Jewish Amazons
Unless Jolted And Headed Manfully
Amid JeJune Ju-Jitsu Zebras
(Rehoboam Abijam Asa Jehoshaphat Jehoram
Ahaziah Athaliah Jehoash Amaziah
Uzziah Jotham Ahaz Hezekiah Manasseh
Amon Josiah Jehoahaz Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah)
7. The Minor prophets
How Jolly Amateurs Obediently Made Nutritious Haggai,
Zealously Hugging Zipped Melons
(Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk,
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi) 
8. The Twelve disciples
Peaceul Androids Judge Jewish Philanthropists
Before They Make Jammy Judges Smash Jugs
(Peter, Andrew, John, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Jude, Simon, Judas)
9. Paul's Letters
Run CedriC, Go Eat Pop Corn TarTs (and ToasTed Peas)
(Romans, 1 &; 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
10. The Seven churches of Revelation
Every small person that sings prays loudly
(Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea)
[Some old, some new, some borrowed, none blue]

Midweek Meeting October 7 2015

I seem to be rather our of sync with these midweek reports. This one is late and I didn't do one last week because we had only a prayer meeting as part of our week of prayer meetings. I appear to have given nor report the week before either (September 23). That was on the cross - a tree of death and of life. Anyway I went on this week looking at the vine, considering Isaiah 5, Ezekiel 17, Psalm 80, Matthew 21 and especially John 15. It was more interactive and more of a Bible study this time round than usual. We had a good turn out and a good time of prayer. What an oasis these midweek meetings can be.


I managed to get to the cinema this week with two of my sons to see the new version of Macbeth. It was quite a good production with plenty of gore. The decision to roll the scene back to around a thousand years AD in a wild Scotland is understandable and made for some rugged scenery. This meant though that the Shakespearean element was overlooked. For some reason children featured prominently as did fire. The witches were also given more of a role visually. Some few scenes were cut. Surprisingly, Lady Macbeth's part was not emphasised as it often is. The focus on Fleance at the end was interesting as it made a little suggestion as to how the future might unfold following Macbeth's death. Perhaps it is why the film begins with a funeral. The Burnham wood to Dunsinane was done rather poorly, I thought. People say that Fassbender and Cotillard (the lead actors) were compelling and magnetic but that sounds to me like overstatement.

10 Words often misused

1. Enormity
Does not mean: Enormousness
Does mean: A profoundly evil or immoral act
2. Instant
Does not mean: Very quickly, with lightning speed
Does mean: A specific point in time
3. Less
(Bit pedantic this one)
Does not mean: a smaller number of items
Does mean: a smaller amount
4. Infinitesimal
Does not mean: very many
Does mean: extremely small
5. Chronic
Does not mean: Severe or intense
Does mean: A condition or state that lasts for a protracted period
6. Historic
Does not mean: happened in history
Does mean: significant in history
7. Unique
Does not mean: rare
Does mean: the only one of its kind
8. Panacea
Does not mean: A cure
Does mean: A cure-all, as in a medication that would cure a wide variety of ailments
9. Plethora
Does not mean: A great amount of something
Does mean: An amount in excess of what is necessary
10. Ironic
Does not mean: Something very bad or funny that happened to you
Does mean: An occurrence that is the opposite of what you’d expect

How politics apparently works

Tonight's news reports that David Cameron said in his speech at his party conference
“Thousands of words have been written about the new Labour leader. But you only really need to know one thing: he thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a “tragedy”.
Right then, you think "I want nothing to do with him." But, of course, the comment is quoted out of context. Jeremy Corbyn said it was a tragedy Osama Bin Laden had been killed rather than being arrested and put on trial.
Commenting in 2011 on the killing of Osama Bin Laden he said:
“On this [the killing of Osama Bin Laden] there was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him, to put him on trial, to go through that process. This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Centre was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy.”
Perhaps it is fair to say that thousands of words have been written about the Conservative leader. But you only really need to know one thing: he thinks people are stupid and will believe a soundbite and not check it out for themselves.

10 Kiwi International Rugby Coaches

1. New Zealand - Steve Hanson
2. Wales - Warren Gatland
3. Scotland - Vern Cotter
4. Ireland - Joe Schmidt
5. Canada - Kieran Crowley
6. Fiji - John McKee
7. Georgia - Milton Haig
8. Tonga - Mana Otai (grew up in Auckland)
9. Austria - Philipp Stevenson
10. Singapore - Casey Mees

Cranford Meeting 2015

It was good to be inn Cranford once again with Robin and Muno Asgher for the annual meeting. The situation continue s to be one of vast opportunity among Asian people of Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu background. About 40 of us gathered. The preacher was Gerard Hemmings from nearby Amyand Park. He preached very helpfully from 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. I chaired. It is a privilege to be involved in this work. Do pray for the work.

Lord's Day October 4 2015

A new month is here so we started with communion as usual. I spoke from Romans 5, a bit briefer than usual I think. Despite a good start, I didn't seem to get on so well with the preaching (from Revelation and Judges). It wasn't disastrous but I was a little long and not as easy to follow as I would like to be. People were tired in the evening. The children's talk went okay on the tenth commandment. There are bound to be Sundays like this I guess. Two members who have been ill were back so that was good but others were ill. A long lost Filipino re-appeared. We had visitors in the morning - couple from LTS, and in the evening a man who seems to have seen through the prosperity gospel by God's grace but the next move will not be easy for him. Three members were out preaching (one only in the evening). Not sure where other members were.

Week of Prayer

Last week we had a week of prayer meetings. That's why I didn't report on the midweek meeting. We had a prayer meeting that night (Wednesday) and the night after and other prayer meetings - one Sunday evening, two early morning ones, one mid-morning and one with breakfast on the Saturday. Seven in all, it was good to have a reminder of the centrality of prayer and to pray. We try and have these weeks twice a year.

Excellent Lecture at the Evangelical Library

It was a privilege to be among the 14 or 15 people present for the latest lunch time lecture at the Evangelical Library here in London. Dr Robert Strivens, Principal of the London Theological Seminary, spoke of the Synod of Dort. He very helpfully and clearly gave us the background to the Synod that took place in the Dutch town of Dordrecht (Dort for short) 1618 and 1619 and then something about the (Calvinistic) canons it produced. Dr Strivens was at pains to acknowledge the political as well as theological currents in existence at the time. A recording was made and can be obtained from the Library. A good time of questions and answers followed. We also learned how recent the TULIP term is (more to follow on that I hope). (For the canons of Dort see here). The best book of the subject will cost you a small fortune sadly. See here.

Lord's Day September 27 2015

I don't think it was the Welsh win over England the night before (I hope not) but I did wake quite encouraged and managed to go on like that all day, which I'm often not very good at. (I also had my two sermons more sorted than usual as I knew we were due to be out all day - that helps I think). Anyway the encouragements kept coming all day.
  • First, we resumed our bitesize theology class with the very encouraging and central doctrine of justification.
  • We had a full double figure turn out for that.
  • Then there was a good sized congregation for the morning service where I preached a harvest message from Psalm 126, which I hope was helpful. I got help on it from John Piper. The tears are not caused by the sowing but we are often in tears as we sow. We need to press on until harvest.
  • It was good to have as many as nine children under ten there (when we often have only two).
  • We also had visitors - a lady with two children and the African gentleman who came last week, who turns out to be from Ghana. Of course, there were some missing as ever but it was a good time.
  • We then had a lovely afternoon with others in the home of one of my deacons.
  • We had a good attendance in the evening too, including a visit from a family we know. I preached (quite animatedly I thought) On Ehud the left hander. (I've found Tim Keller's book on preaching a help on the matter of preaching Christ I think).
  • My son and his family came back to us for cuppa after the evening service and that was nice too.

Some pictures

The clay dragon is by my son Owain, the papers are the earliest manuscript of my recently published book on conscience.