Alarm goes off at 6.30. Shower then time of personal prayer and meditation before breakfast. Family worship before children go off to school. Read Psalm 140 and prayed. Start work in the study. After prayer read begin to prepare for Sunday's ministry. I'll be preaching at Chardsmead Baptist Church, Bridport, Dorset. I've known the church for years and I'm looking forward to renewing fellowship. When preaching away I tend to use some golden oldies from the "Exiled Preacher Global Ministries Archive".
I used to hand write my sermons with a fountain pen, but my handwriting would become illegible as I rushed to get my ideas on paper. This caused a bit of a problem when looking over my notes prior to preaching. I often found myself wondering, 'What was I trying to say?' It isn't so bad now as I type my sermons on the PC. My first attempts at sermonising in Word were none too successful. I couldn't type very fast and found myself getting overly interested in how the text looked on the screen - fonts, bold, italics etc. I don't know how I did it, but once I managed to get the text into one long vertical line down the page. I hadn't discovered the joys of edit/undo = "ctrl + z", and had to redo the lot. So, I gave up on word processing my sermons and returned to my trusty fountain pen and A4 ruled paper. Until that is I ran out of ruled A4 and was too indolent to walk up the shop and buy some. I thought this might be a good time to have another go at doing sermons in Word. I'm a little more proficient at word processing these days, so the transition wasn't too bad. It's easier to do re-writes and now I can read my without the "illegibility issue" causing problems.
Having prayerfully decided which sermons to use, I e-mail my Bible readings and hymns to the church sec at Chardsmead and then read a little more of The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John Frame. I'm on to the appendices now. The one on Maxims for Theologians and Apologists gives a helpful summary of the contents of the book and is full of nuggets of good advice like:
13. Do think of theology as "the application of the Word of God by persons to all areas of life"
27. Do seek holiness as a means to theological maturity. Realise that some theological disputes cannot be resolved until one or all parties achieves greater spiritual maturity.
40. Do not regard your theological system as superior in any way (materially or formally) to Scripture itself. make your emotional attachments and attitudes consistent with this resolution.
54. Do not demand that theology be impersonal or academic.
63. Do not make long lists of maxims because it is difficult for intellectually challenged readers to take them all in. [I made that one up].
I like to have more than one book on the go. I finished Spurgeon's Lectures to my students the other day and I've nearly finished Frame. So, I take The Divine Spiration of Scripture by A. T. B. McGowan (Apollos, 2007) from my "to read" shelf. There has been a lot of controversy over this book, largely because McGowan takes issue with biblical inerrancy. In his introduction, McGrath writes, "one might reasonably expect something of a firestorm directed against any challenge to its [inerrancy] continued usage" (p. 14). He was right. The book has provoked a slew of hostile reviews. I suspect that I'll disagree with what he says. But I want to give him a fair hearing, and I'm only two chapters in. I'll resist the urge to comment until I've read the whole thing.
I was supposed to be attending a lunchtime meeting of local ministers to arrange school assemblies in the area. I arrived at the venue, but no one else was there and I couldn't get hold of anyone to find out what's going on. Strange. I'm the only one not in the ecumenical grouping, Churches Together and begin to think that's it's all a grand conspiracy to freeze me out. But there's probably a better explanation. Have lunch at home and then visit a church member who has been unwell for some weeks. Good time of fellowship and nice cup of tea! Thursday is shopping day in our family, not my favourite pastime, but its got to be done. If "Exiled Preacher Global Ministries" really takes off I'll be able to get someone to do that kind of thing for me so I can concentrate on important things like blogging and mowing the lawn. But I doubt that will ever happen and I would look silly with a permatan, shiny suit and hair transplant. I'll just have to settle for being what Geoff Thomas defined as a "TULIP" = Totally Unappreciated Low Income Pastor.
I'm reading Tolkein's The Hobbit to the children as a bed time story. We've just finished chapter 10. Watch Question Time, a BBC political discussion programme. Evening devotions. Bed