Weekend Report

Susan, Kate and I survived a shopping trip on Saturday. Yes, we finally took the plunge and did some Christmas shopping. Our carefully planned strategy took us into Derby early-ish before the crowds.

In the shops, we were subjected to Slade and “So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun“. Didn’t feel like it. We had fun in spite of the Christmas shopping.

Or we were subjected to John Lennon’s conscience-striking, guilt-inducing, finger-pointing “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” I thought, “We haven’t bought our Christmas presents, that’s what we haven’t done!!”

Stopped for lunch in Subway…

Us having Fun

As you can see everybody’s having fun…

…’specially me…

King of Fun

Well, Susan tried…

Susan

I just like that picture!

Well, we survived, made it home, had a nice cup of tea.

ooOoo

Yesterday morning, we were at Woodlands for a baptismal service. Two teenage girls were baptised. They are both from Christian homes so have been well taught. They gave good testimonies, the best I have heard at Woodlands, I think. Every blessing on you, girls!

ooOoo

On Sunday afternoon we had a visit from the Heron family. I forgot to take a picture before they left this morning, so here is one from the web:

David and Helen are old friends of ours from university days. They have been missionaries in Peru for a number of years now and currently based in Lima. They are back in the UK for their summer break. Read about them here. Their three girls are wonderful and Kate had a great time with them. It was good to catch up, but all too short – they had to go to Scotland this morning. Good for them, bad for us.

ooOoo

Derwent had a Carol Service last night. I led, though readings were done by others, and I preached on John 1:1-14, with the main focus on 1:12.

Though there was a congregation of 30+, and a couple of new people one of the members had brought, I was disappointed at the response. The church had distributed 1500 copies of the December edition of Evangelical Times, which is deliberately evangelistic, with an invitation to the Carol Service, around the area. But it looks like not a single person had responded to it. We can only hope that a secret work of grace is being done somewhere.

ooOoo

That’s it! New week ahead…

Weekend Report

Sven on Commentaries

Steven Harris has written a useful review of various commentary series’ (is there an apostrophe there?). I tend to use the BST, NICOT and WBC commentaries. How do other people read commentaries? My usual practice when studying a book is to start with the BST and read it right through. I don’t tend to read the more in-depth ones like that. I fear I would find it too draining. They are not exactly easy. I tend to use them for reference, or work through them as I am preaching through a book. What about you?

Sven on Commentaries

Study Update

By the way, I should mention I have completed all my essays for this semester. Not very happy with the last one on infant baptism – I kind of ran out of time – so it is a bit pedestrian and predictable. David said he wouldn’t be happy with my essay either. I wonder why?

Anyway, there remains my exam on Ruth in Hebrew on Jan 20, 2006.

Must get on…

Study Update

Preaching to the Elderly

As far as church is concerned, the Christmas season has really begun! Last night I conducted a service at a residential care home a stone’s throw from DFC (and believe me, stones get thrown around there!) DFC usually takes a service there once a month, but last night was the Carol Service.

Quite a gang from the church appeared and quite a number of residents turned up in the lounge. So, some carols, readings and then a 15min preach on Matt. 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Preaching to the elderly presents a different challenge to preaching in the church. There are practical problems: getting residents assembled in one place, preaching so that they can hear (I am usually a bit loud anyway, but I have to turn it up even more!), keeping it short enough so that I get to the conclusion before some start to drop off(!), leading the singing without instruments (getting the pitch and pace right). Interesting.

Well, I enjoyed it. Everyone else seemed to as well, though it was difficult to tell how the message itself is received. The staff provided a cup of tea afterwards – can’t be bad!

The elderly are often treated as less important, both in society and in the church. I say this because ten years ago, when I was into the seeker-sensitive thing, we were often urged to ‘target’ evangelism and worship services mostly to the thirty-somethings. At the time I could see the cold logic of it from a demographics point of view. However, I was always a little uncomfortable with it. Now I am deeply so. I met too many aging refugees from churches which had implemented seeker-sensitive services aimed at a particular niche market. People are people, made in the image of God, no matter how old. No one is too old to hear and receive the gospel. No one is a lost cause by virtue of age. A leopard can change its spots. An old dog can learn new tricks. An old person can be born again.

We must trust that God will bless the preaching of his word wherever the opportunity arises.

PS. Sorry to miss Ant’s Woodlands housegroup Christmas bash as a result. (Techically, I’m still on your list, am I, Ant? Please?) I gather it was a blast…

Preaching to the Elderly

Freedom and Opinions

Well, yes. I’m all for free speech. And blogging is good for it. People can express their opinions, get things off their chests blah blah blah.

Trouble is, I’m getting the impression that some people believe their opinion is sacrosanct. To challenge it is to violate some holy law which must be punished.

The reason I have a problem here is that I happen to believe that all opinions have weight, and that weight is determined by the veracity of the information it is based upon. Needless to say, some opinions can be found to be very light indeed upon inspection. Consequently, it is my opinion that all opinions should be subject to fires of enquiry. What is left standing is then worth something of value. Unfortunately not everyone agrees. Some believe that the quantity and volume of opinion is what matters.

As I have mentioned before, Jesus did not come full of grace and opinions. He did not tell the pharisees in John 8 that they will have an opinion, and this opinion will set them free. He spoke of truth.

There is a story behind this little comment, but we need not go there. Just to say, for what it is worth, that truth matters above all opinions.

That’s my opinion.

Freedom and Opinions